Religious influence in design for United Arab Emeritus

Religion in the United Arab Emeritus (UAE) has always been deeply engrained in the local culture in all cities within the country. Looking through pictures of the future and current architecture it is evident that religious influence is a common design consideration. With 76% of the countries population followers of Islam, patterns and markings are often presented across the buildings external and internal features to show their devotion.  


The Islamic religion has no painting of God or Jesus; they are shown through symbols and patterns, for instance Allah (Islamic word for god) is shown through a symbol that looks similar to a ‘w’ with a trident shaped into it. Because Islam never shows their god in picture form, they express their devotion to Allah through patterns and symbols that represents him. 

Religious expression in domestic regions are commonly shown using a Mashrariya, a patterned window that serves two functions, one: to stop wind, two: to allow light to shine through, representing Allah’s presence. First discovered in the 12th century (earliest evidence of use) they have been heavily used since, even branching outside the UAE into other countries. Professional architects living in the UAE have incorporated the wind breaking function of the Mashrariva and applies them to large-scale structures to protect them from wind and sand damage due to the harsh environment, the Al Bahar Towers located in Abu Dhabi (picture) is just one example of this ‘large scale Marshrariva’ in use.

 It seems that religion and design are linked but finely balanced when it comes to architecture in the United Arab Emeritus. Designs like the Masrariva have been a very successful mixture of the two, through engineering and design innovation they have been able to be used on a grand scale serving an important function. But religion and design branch out further than just architecture; it goes into fashion shaping a cultural way of life. The Burqa for example has its own fashion industry and designer names like ‘Shukr’. Serving the initial purpose of covering women in public, Muslim societies have incorporated design patterns reflecting religious belief, going to show that religion and design are linked in certain circumstances


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