Sani, Rafooneh Mokhtarshahi. "A Conceptual Understanding for Teaching the History of Islamic Architecture: An Iranian (Persian) Perspective," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 3, issue 1 (2009).
It has been a relatively long time since the inception of industrialization, as a result of which the architecture of the Muslim cultures has been faced with serious challenges. The rapid speed of modernization did not give the traditional architecture of these regions a chance to adapt to the changes. During recent years, however, great efforts have been made in dedication to the revival of cultural values, especially in respect of the education of young architects in these countries. It appears that the main place for responding to the quest for nourishing from regional values is in universities and mainly in the history/Islamic architecture lectures.
The history lesson has often been discussed as being a particularly useful tool in respect of the issue of designing new buildings, which can meet the contemporary needs of today. In view of that, various methods and great efforts have been devoted to improving the teaching of the history of architecture. In the case of the teaching of Islamic architecture, focusing on the architectural background, such as the socio-cultural factors and investigating in regional values is a more or less appropriate way of linking the past with the present.
Islamic architecture, which covers a considerable part of the globe, has frequently been viewed as homogeneous architecture. On the other hand, there are some other scholars, who, by emphasizing the diversities of this architecture, have demonstrated some doubt even as to the use of the term Islamic architecture. Between these two extremes, in this paper it is argued that the subject of Islamic architecture should be seen and taught with respect to the existing various interpretations, as well as with consideration of the fact that all these diverse expressions only wish to express one thing; the Islamic view. A deep understanding of Islamic architecture in relation to regional values will enable students to think comparatively. As an example of such understanding of Islamic architecture, the Safavid architecture of Iran (16th-18th) has been analyzed. The focus of this analysis is to give an overview of the architectural background and the reasons for the creation of traditional architecture during this period. The paper aims to offer a wider view of the history of Islamic architecture; to see it as more than just the development of orders, forms, and materials.