Koliji, Hooman. "Built on Light: The ‘Crafty’ Art of Geometric Patterned Windows." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 4, Number 1 (pp. 75-108), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
The exquisite coloured glass windows that were widely popular in seventeenth- to nineteenth-century Iran, known as orosi, suggest a multiplicity of readings at physical, perceptual and contemplative levels. Comprised of sophisticated geometric patterns known as girih, the window offers variegated light patterns to the interior while simultaneously connecting it to the outside garden. This paper investigates the layers of design thinking associated with orosi windows through a study of the following horizons: architecture, pattern, construction, spatial experience and interpretation. Thus, the orosi window as a construct will first be discussed in terms of layers, planes and overall structure. Subsequently, the paper examines the girih for its essential pattern design vocabulary, as well as with respect to the similarities and differences in stages of conceiving geometric patterns through drawing and production. This study of the spatial experience of orosi argues for the significant role played by the coloured geometric patterned window in negotiating its adjacent spaces. The simultaneous presence of abstract and naturalistic geometric patterns seen in both the window and the exterior garden expands the discussion of geometric patterns to the entirety of the edifice, landscape and beyond.