Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Multi-Architecture in Saudi Arabia: Representing the History of Women

Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Multi-Architecture in Saudi Arabia: Representing the History of Women

Article excerpt


In modern architecture, form is a distinctive feature that draws attention and many times becomes subject to classification and association. Recent studies in architecture have moved to association of form to its significance and relation, linking these different forms to human cognition, culture, and even social values. The problem with

reading these architecture designs is that in the general public the ability to interpret symbols varies among individuals. Some symbols are "archetypal" or general to everyone, but the majority of them are understood and learned by communal living, and these differ from one person to another. Subjective views require the study of aesthetics, dealing with the nature of beauty, and art, and most importantly, the tastes and opinions of the people who view this art. In many art forms, this usually creates two categories or types of art: "the art of the people" and "the art of critics". An alternate resolution has been to design the symbolism of works of art in a way known as "double coded": i.e. several messages are aimed at to the common people and others to art connoisseurs. The multi-coded works are also multi-sensed in such a way that it allows more than one definite interpretations.

Architecture and Symbolism (As an Icon)

Etienne-Louis Boullee (1729-99), an Instructor Paris school of construction engineering (Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees) in the field of architecture, proposed rather creative ideas on the symbolism of architecture and buildings. He mentioned that design must "talk" (Fr. parlant) architecture, e.g., the house of a saw owner had to be designed to resemble the blade of a saw. "Buildings should be like poems. (2) The impressions they create to our senses should produce analogous feelings to those produced by the use of those buildings." Architectural signs frequently also refer to political or social relations. Introduction to such studies and works could be found in Politische Architektur in Europa vom Mittelalter bis heute edited by Martin Warnke (1984).

However, the advent of l'Art Nouveau encouraged the world's most skilled architects of to create their private languages of art and form. The first and one of the most influential of these was Le Corbusier who also proposed a short written groundwork to his system of proportions (based on the Golden Section) in the book Modulor (1951). The primary perceptive psychology base for this was formerly presented in the book Vers une architecture (1923):

   A brilliant, orthodox and original jigsaw puzzle of masses combined
   in light. Our eyes were created to see the forms in light; light
   and shadow reveal the forms. Cubes, cones, balls, cylinders and
   pyramids are primary shapes that light so excellently reveals; the
   picture they give to us is clear and perspicuous without
   indecision. That is why they are beautiful forms. (3)

Modern Architecture and Aesthetics

Recently, modern architecture has been functional with its emphasis mainly on the economic aspects of buildings. But, since architecture deals with the entire field of humanity and human life, real functional architecture must be functional mainly from the human point of view. Technology is chiefly an aid. Functionalism is valid only if it enlarged to cover even the psychophysical field. That is the only way to humanize architecture. (4)

Alghazali in alchemy of happiness wrote: "The beauty of a thing lies in the appearance of that perfection which is desirable and in accord with its nature.... [For example] beautiful writing combines everything that is characteristic of writing, such as harmony of letters, their correct relation to each other, right sequence, and beautiful arrangement."

Harmony, then, is not only in the natural world, the intelligible world and the human soul but also in the city, works of art as being in the service of this objective. …

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