Contents of the ‘Indonesia’ category in chronological order.

Closing Remarks, Expressions of Islam in Buildings Seminar, ‘Faith, Tradition, Innovation, and the Built Environment’ (Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

I have often heard it said, and I think that it is an undercurrent of aspiration widely held in the Islamic world, that it will regain its position of universal recognition. But I think that if that is one of our concerns, we have to be honest about the fact that in order to achieve that, we have to attain political, economic, social, and cultural standards no lower than those of the industrialised world. We will have to accept to be measured by their standards. And after having been measured by their standards, we will have to excel. In order to achieve that, I think we have to accept that it would be a long and demanding course …

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Opening Address, Expressions of Islam in Buildings Seminar, ‘Faith, Tradition, Innovation, and the Built Environment’ (Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

The essence of the Aga Khan Award is to premiate outstanding quality in all principal aspects of the built environment for Muslims. We seek to identify excellence in landscaped spaces, restored buildings, social housing, high-tech constructions, and others, all over the world. The single binding theme is that the buildings or spaces be essentially used for those born into, or who have become a part of, the faith of Islam. It is a broad and glorious domain that we have defined. The invisible common thread that runs through it all, the “underlying theme” of that great design, is relevance to the common characteristic of being — in some way — related specially to Muslims….

In this seminar, the Award strives to look to the fountainhead of inspiration on which Muslims and non-Muslims draw to create the spaces and buildings we admire. What aspects of the social or religious backgrounds transpire into their creation? Is it their interpretation of their faith? Is it the ethic of their faith? Is it the rules of social conduct of their faith? And, indeed, the hard question has to be asked, is it their faith at all?

How do they perceive problems of scale, intimacy, regionalism? How do they choose materials, textures, and colours? What use do they make of water, flowers, and scent? Do they relate one or some, all or none, of these considerations to their faith, or to their ethic, or to a secular tradition? Is the secularisation of the modern Western world affecting their professional approach, or, on the contrary, is the search for an Islamic identity encouraging them to learn much more about their history and tradition than what their forefathers knew or learnt? If there is a return to the essence of their background, is it in the form of a search for identity, or is it in the form of a new commitment to their faith?

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Closing Remarks, Third Seminar, ‘Housing Process and Physical Form’, The Aga Khan Award For Architecture (Jakarta, Indonesia)

A major achievement of our seminar has been to highlight how very little is known of what is or might be appropriate housing for the Islamic world, and therefore appropriate for Muslims rather than for other peoples and cultures In talking about Islamic housing, we are not talking about housing for Muslims exclusively. We are talking about housing which reflects the culture of the majority of the people who live in any given country, and which therefore has an Islamic population but is in no way exclusively Muslim.

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Opening Remarks, Third Seminar, ‘Housing Process and Physical Form’, The Aga Khan Award For Architecture (Jakarta, Indonesia)

The present seminar, which has gathered some of the most eminent thinkers and policy makers in the field of housing, must address a much wider problem. We are looking to the seminar discussions for ways in which the Award for housing can encourage planners to seek new means of solving this great contemporary dilemma.

It is my hope that these four days will be as fruitful for the seminar participants as they will be for the Steering Committee. However, the dilemma is greater than this. We want to identify specific housing problems and solutions which are appropriate to contemporary Islamic societies, and develop models which could be replicated in concept if not in design elsewhere in the Islamic world.

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