Heidelberg University

Muqarnas Visualization in the
Numerical Geometry Group



Mathematical Concepts and Computer Graphics for the Reconstruction of Stalactite Vaults - Muqarnas - in Islamic Architecture

Grant 03WNX2HD

There are a lot of ground plans of existing Muqarnas. Some of these 3D-vaults are still in good shape, others broke down and have to be reconstructed from their plans. However, in many cases even such plans do not exist any more.

First we want to convert existing muqarnas plans into the computer in such a way that we can analyze their properties: What kind of elements occur, which elements can be connected and how, what are the possible heights of the succeeding tiers, what about regional differences, cultural differences, differences in time?
We aim at a computer program that is able to answer these questions on muqarnas plans automatically. The obvious material to start with are the Illkhanid muqarnas plans in Ulrich Harb's book. These can be compared with existing architecture and thus show limitations in computer possibilities.

In the second stage we want to apply these methods to plans which are known to have not been realized, the Topkapi Scroll being our first choice; and we want to apply these methods in reconstructing muqarnas vaults to ruins like Varamin, Iran. It is also planned to produce several 15 min. videos on muqarnas to be used for teaching.

Yvonne Dold-Samplonius
Silvia Harmsen
Susanne Krömker
Michael Winckler

International Cooperation Partners

Professor Dr. Gülrü Necipoglu
Sackler Museum
Aga Khan Chair for the History of Architecture, Harvard
485, Broadway
Cambridge, MA, USA

Professor Dr. Mohammad Al-Assad
Director of the
Center for the Study of the Built Environment
PO-Box 830751
Amman 11183, Jordan

Dr. Jan P. Hogendijk
Mathematical Institute
University of Utrecht
PO-Box 80 010
3508 TA Utrecht, NL

We are very sorry to hear about the unexpected death of our cooperation partner Professor Alpay Özdural as a result of a heart attack on 22 February 2003. His invitation to Heidelberg was planned for May 2004.

     Professor Dr. Alpay Özdural
     Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazy Magusa
     Faculty of Architecture
     PO-Box 95
     Mersin 10, North Cyprus, Turkey

S. Krömker, 
Last Update: 01.02.2011
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