Remembering Damascus: The Damascene House

The Damascene House has many meanings and multiple dimensions. It is the Arab’s architectural idea of residential paradise. The courtyard is an illuminated space open to the lofty sky; its internal recesses reach into our innermost psyche. Elaborate symbolism governs this geometrically inspired structure. The courtyard serves as the center of tranquility around which the rooms orbit much like planets revolve around the sun. The architect uses arches, rectangles, squares, and geometric lines as means of demarcation and materials such as stone, marble, and wood to convey the cool and warm qualities of such spaces. The most important principle of Arab architectural design is the unity of its different elements: the central courtyard and the other spaces around it, together, create an oasis inside the house.

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(Obelisque Magazine, Autumn 2009)

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