In this major contribution to an understanding of the development of Ottoman architecture, Godfrey Goodwin focuses on the work of one of the greatest sixteenth-century architects, Sinan Abdulmennan, showing how he revolutionized inherited Ottoman building methods, a tradition based on structure by an awareness of the psychology of space.
Until Sinan, Ottoman architecture had been a reading of parts. He broke down the distinct forms that had created a certain rigidity, thus freeing interior space and interior form simultaneously.
Underlying his architectural concepts are the mathematical theories and practices of Classical Greece. Sinan shared these ideals of proportion and balance with builders in the West indeed; the author argues that the work of Sinan and that of Bramante and Palladio must be seen as part of the same intellectual revolution.
This is not a life of Sinanvery few biographical materials are available. Goodwin nevertheless shows the importance of the architect's long years in the army and his experience of bridges, siege-works, fortifications, and the behaviour of stone and masonry before he was appointed Royal Architect in 1538.
Goodwin bases his analysis on a detailed comparative study of certain of Sinan's buildings, the supreme example being the imaginative leap represented by the mosque of Selim ll at Edirne, second capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Of particular importance are the chapters on light and space; the dome, the minaret and the apsidal form; decoration and tiles.
The text is illustrated by photographs, plans and elevations of many of Sinan's works ranging from the grandiose Suleymaniye complex in Istanbul to the experimental Kilic Ali Pasha mosque. Of outstanding interest are the plates by the nineteenth-century German architect Gurlitt, many of which show features before later restoration.
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Godfrey Goodwin taught art and architectural history at the University of the Bosphorus from 1957 to 1968 and is the author of several authoritative works, including Sinan: Ottoman Architecture and its Values Today, The Janissaries and The Private World of Ottoman Women, also published by Saqi Books.Review:
'. . . fills a serious gap and fills it eloquently. Like Brunelleschi in Italy a century earlier, Sinan transformed architecture and needs to be discussed in terms of form, space and light, which the book does brilliantly.' --Sherban Cantacuzino, Secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission, London and former editor of 'The Architectural Review'
'Sinan is the culmination of Goodwin's achievement, a book which no one who loves Turkey should miss.' --The Financial Times
'At last, Ottoman architectural history with an architect's eye . . . An important study, showing Sinan in the context of the European architecture of his time.' --Professor J. M. Rogers, School of Oriental and African Studies, London
'Goodwin writes about the very stuff of architecture . . . Scholarship is certainly there, but what for me is impressive is the way the author confronts us with the extraordinary imagination of this great innovator, artist and architect.' --Sir Philip Dowson, Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
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