Raised in the historic city of Isfahan, Mohammad Gharipour received
his Ph.D. in Architectural Theory and History from Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2008 and Masters of Architecture from the University of Tehran in
2000. He teaches architecture at Morgan State University and is the Director and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His
areas of research include Japanese traditional and contemporary architecture,
Persianate gardens and architecture, and restorative environments. He is the
recipient of Spiro Kostof fellowship award from the Society of Architectural
Historians (SAH) in 2008 and the author of several publications including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in
Poetry, Arts and History(I.B. Tauris, 2013). in 2014, Dr. Gharipour was presented with the National Endowment for Humanities Faculty Award for his research on Synagogues of Isfahan, Iran.
Damgaard, Kristoffer. "Access Granted: The Phenomenology of Approach in Early Islamic Palatial Architecture." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 2, Number 2 (pp. 273-305), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
Early Islamic palatial architecture displays certain identifiable and formalized characteristics that have been extensively discussed for decades now, and scholarship is gradually moving towards a coherent understanding of the intrinsic principles behind their conceptualization. One of the central principles in early Islamic palaces was the use of an axial approach as a structuring architectural principle. This axis was subdivided by physical demarcations that indicated increases in a given space’s social and symbolic importance. The assignment of value to space was based on proximity to the patron, and the architecture is designed to manifest this spatial hierarchy. This article explores the origin of this tradition by analysing the application and development of transitional devices in the late Umayyad palaces of Amman Citadel and Mshatta. By considering spatial composition as a subtle yet powerful means of stimulating a cognitive recognition of social hierarchies, and the movement between them, a number of pre-Islamic complexes are gauged as possible sources of inspiration for the early Muslim patrons. This includes the identification of certain features and concepts that not only are suggested to be common, deliberate and meaningful, but indeed are key to understanding how the late Umayyad rulers formulated a sustainable materiality of Islamic rule.
Keywords: Islam; Umayyads; approach; monarchy; palaces; royal cities