Description - The Coral Buildings of Suakin by Jean-Pierre Greenlaw
Remarkable and unforgettable, the previously unrecorded houses and mosques of the now abandoned island town of Suakin in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan are the subject of this fascinating work. Prepared over a period of 20 years, the exquisite drawings provide a conspectus in minute detail of the traditional architecture of Suakin which, in its heyday, was admired by all who saw it. Built between the 16th and the 20th centuries, Suakin was a jewel-like example of the special sort of architecture which evolved to suit the conditions around the coasts of the Red Sea. The style consisted of two- or three-storeyed houses with vertical walls pierced by many-shuttered windows and characteristic "mashrabiyas", and with roof-terraces ("kharjahs") on which to sleep in the welcome coolness of the moon- or star-lit evenings. The outside walls of the buildings were white-washed, which set off the "mashrabiyas" and carved wooden doors which were surmounted by carved stone door-hoods. Its situation on a flat island in a lagoon provided a setting which gave it a unique beauty.
The drawings are supplemented by text giving an outline of the history of Arab and Turkish architecture, and of the port of Suakin. A major contribution to the history of Islamic architecture, it is especially interesting because it gives a wealth of detail about the intimate domestic arrangements of houses as well as providing records of general planning and design. It is all the more valuable and poignant because the buildings recorded here in such loving and meticulous detail have now largely vanished, leaving few traces behind.
Buy The Coral Buildings of Suakin by Jean-Pierre Greenlaw from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Publisher: Kegan Paul
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