The ensemble of buildings on Registan Square in Samarkand consists of the 15th century madrasa of Ulugh Beg, the 17th century madrasa-mosque of Tillya Kari, the 17th century madrasa of Shir Dor and the 18th Century market building called Chor-Su. Tashkent Street, which connects the Bibi Khanum complex to Registan Square. has been converted to a pedestrian mall aligned with new, low-rise, commercial buildings, the intention is to revitalise this ancient shopping street and to create a pedestrian zone between the two important monuments of Samarkand.
The present Tashkent Street is a widened version of the historical bazaar street of Samarkand which used to connect the Bibi Khanum complex just inside the Tashkent gate of the city with the Registan Square at its centre. Cutting through the traditional fabric as a major shopping street, it has always been a busy thoroughfare of Samarkand. Today, it has been converted into a pedestrian mall aligned with old and new buildings. The series of small shops and most of the old buildings that lined the street have disappeared A few buildings built by the Russians during the 19th Century are incorporated in the design. The project aims to visually enclose the empty areas on the street, as well as around the monuments of Registan Square and Bibi Khanum mosque. These areas were demolished during the 1950's, to clear around the monuments and make them more visible from a distance.
On Tashkent Street, pavements are restored according to existing examples with marble and square bricks, the historical monuments are being restored according to the same principles employed in the restoration of the Registan monuments. New buildings are usually executed in reinforced concrete. Infill is of yellow coloured brick, as a reminder of the traditional building material of the town. Simple, decorative brick courses, the occasional use of turquoise glazing and simple, muqarnas-type corner treatments are used consistently to give the street an homogeneous appearance and quality. Landscaping is deliberately simple and consists of surface pavement in stone and brick, flower boxes in concrete, bench seating and street lamps purpose-designed and executed from sheet metal.
Mowatt, Don. "Journey to Samarkand." In Building for Tomorrow, edited by Azim Nanji, 115-117. London: Academy Group Ltd., 1994.
The more than 19 essays on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in this retrospective suggest there is a transnational and transterritorial landscape’ out of which a constructive discourse can emerge. Through a definition of architecture that engages the whole built environment and situates human and cultural concerns at heart of the conversation about the future of building in the Muslim world, the Award has led, initiated and sustained an enabling series of conversations. The essays in this volume, while different in focus and approach, indicate how the Award has fostered and forged such “a community of concern”.
Source: Azim Nanji in “Enabling Conversations” from Building for Tomorrow.