Armand Point and Islamic Architecture

Islamic Courtyard Houses

When he made this painting in 1886, Armand Point produced a careful record of the interior of a traditional courtyard house in Algeria. The family sits in a courtyard which is open to the sky, allowing sunlight to flood in. We can see through the archway to inner rooms, and above to an upper storey. The setting is outdoors, yet also at the heart of the house.

Traditional courtyard houses like this one are found in Islamic communities across the world, from Spain to South East Asia. Cities are filled with courtyard houses of every shape and size, in a tangle of winding lanes, alleys and cul-de-sacs. Although designs vary, there are many features which recur. The most important feature shared by these houses is the focus on the interior rather than the outside.
 
The outside walls are thick and high with few windows and only one, low door. The house centres on an open courtyard which leads on to the living rooms. The courtyard sometimes contains a fountain or a garden. In this painting the family members are protected by the architecture of their home: relaxed, peaceful and private.

Google maps - Peshawar, where these photos were taken»



 
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