ARCH 793AB: Cultural Practice

Instructor: Andy Ku

Towards The Stars

How does architecture relate to astronomy? Living in Arabian deserts, people have always contemplated the stars. There has always been an intimate relationship between people and the stars, which is reflected in Arabic poetry and literature. There are astronomical connotations in many cultural and religious practices of people in Saudi Arabia. The fixed stars and constellations in the sky were landmarks that helped people navigate the vast deserts and find the Qibla “prayer” direction, towards Makkah. Lunar phases determine important occasions and holidays for Muslim people upon sighting the crescent.
This exploration delves into the spiritual relationship between the desert and the stars glittering in the night sky above. Exploring the symbolic connections between buildings and the skies through domes as sacred forms.