Conserving Symbolism in Architectural Heritage – Case Study Eloquence in Depicting Philosophical Ideas Inspired by the Principles of Islam on Islamic Architecture through Ages


Symbol includes a meaning not just a sign, and a meaning can be read whenever it is understood since the idea of communication is available in the significance of this meaning. This explains why human existence is closely related to symbol and symbolism. The architectural heritage attaches great importance to the idea of symbolism, and constantly uses different symbols and distinctive vocabulary. The general geometric shape of the building or outline, the formation of spaces, the degree of simplicity or complexity, the mass of the building, the quality of the materials used, and the colors are architectural elements rich in symbols. In addition to the architectural vocabulary, such as columns/pillars, arches and domes, ornaments, and circular openings borrowed by some architects from different periods of time to enrich the symbolic meaning of their design approaches. Though, this metaphor remains superficial if the vocabulary is not in harmony with the rest of the space and functional components of the building attached. The study aims to illustrate the meaning of symbol and symbolism in architecture. Then, to discuss the symbolic reflection on architectural heritage, where some architectural paradigms were taken expressing various historical periods. Finally, review and compare selected examples from different chronological periods of Islamic architecture. Moreover, the objective behind this is to highlight a set of ideas and architectural elements and vocabulary contained in these examples, which can be adapted nowadays in the design concepts to bear the same moral significance. This paper is clarifying an attempt to highlight the eloquence in depicting philosophical ideas that inspired by the principles of Islam and their relationship to Islamic architecture. The purpose of this study is to analyze and understand these ideas and display their importance to conserve symbolism in architectural heritage. In general, in order to reach a set of recommendations that can be used to enrich contemporary Islamic architecture in particular, hoping to raise the level of the spiritual environment and confirm a distinctive architectural identity.


Khaled Ahmed El-Sayed El-Daghar

Journal/Conference Information

Conservation of Architectural Heritage. Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation (IEREK Interdisciplinary Series for Sustainable Development). Springer, Cham,Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland , ISBN: 2522-8714, Volume: 3, Edition: #1, Year: 2020, Pages Range: 180-195,