Islamic Architecture in Iran
Architecture through the ages, has embraced a wide variety of arts and sciences. By using mathematics, Iranian architecture has achieved a high level of beauty and perfection. This is especially evident in the Islamic Iranian architecture of the Middle Ages (10th to 14th century). During this period there were astonishing and glorious achievements of this endeavor – that is – the application of mathematics in architecture.
The specifics of Iranian Islamic Architecture
The transition of a square into a circle by using triangles is one of the characteristics of Iranian architecture from the pre-Islamic period. Later, Iranian architects used this process to create a more complicated and elaborate form in the design of their buildings. The center point of the square, marked by the intersection of two diagonals, is the most important point of in its transition to a circle process.
This called for a further geometrical solution in the corners in order to create the desired forms and volumes. In order to create vast varieties of forms. Which achieved by the turning, rotating, and twisting of a simple square, use of circles and triangles was common and widely used in much of the medieval Islamic Iranian architecture.
Towers architecture in Iran’s Islamic Architecture
It is evident that advance Geometry used by the prominent architects at that time. “The techniques of tower construction established in earlier centuries continued and spread under the Seljuq Sultan. Which were their governors, and their neighbors. The cylindrical brick shaft of a variable taper decorated with brick patterns and inscriptions of varied quality and complexity.”
Usage of advanced mathematics continued into the Khanids period. “Its apparent feature was a more immense scale. The structural load-bearing components of monuments were concentrated. A large ratio of height to the interior width of the chamber was displayed.”
For example: “ the weight of the double-shelled dome of the mausoleum of Uljayto in Sultanieya central Iran (45 meters high with a diameter of 24.5 meters). It is concentrated on a small number of supporters. Without the use of any shoulder or buttress.” So it needed to be calculated prior to its construction.
Geometry Specifics in Iran’s Islamic Architecture
Geometry used not only to solve structural problems but also in the details of the designs of various structures. These range from the immense high entrances of Friday Mosques in important cities, to entrances of ordinary homes.
The more modest residential architecture conceals private and common-use areas of the houses. The layout of such houses varied according to climate, culture, tradition, and aesthetic tastes.
In order to satisfy these demands, and the placement of these structures within an urban setting, the architects had to rely on mathematics in order to achieve the best results.
Mathematics in Iran’s Islamic Architecture
The mastery of advanced mathematics among the architects and the application of this knowledge in the various aspects of design led to the creation of amazing and admirable architecture.
There is no doubt that only those architects who acquainted with advanced knowledge of geometry, algebra, and astrology, as well as, poetry and philosophy. Could design such architectural elements that protected the structural stability while achieving perfection of beauty. Characteristic of medieval Iranian architecture in Iran. This level of balance and elegance would not have been attained without the mastery of mathematics by the creators of the work.
The ratio of height to the diameter of the towers or minarets in medieval Iranian architecture shows another aspect of the use of mathematics in architecture.
The Tower of Gonbad-I-Qabus near Gorgan (in northern Iran), is a unique example of such a case. While this tower “reaches the amazing height of sixty-one meters, its diameter is only seventeen meters.”
This mathematical relationship helped the architect to create the sense of “the ascension from earth toward heaven.” This effect achieved by narrowing the diameter of the tower where the entrance is placed, in comparison to the height of the structure.