The Concept and Aspects of Manifestation of Elegance in Architecture; Case Study: Soltaniyeh Dome and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Document Type : Research Article


1 Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran


Problem statement: Elegance is a broad and universal concept with great importance in art and architecture. However, there is a lack of theoretical understanding about the nature and manifestations of elegance in architecture.
Research Objective: The aim of this study is to recognize the place and use of elegance in the design of architectural works as an artistic theme. Using a descriptive-analytical method, the authors tried to identify the concept and types of elegance and trace its uses in Iranian-Islamic architecture.
Research method: In the first step, scholars’ views on the elegance concept from two perspectives of philosophy of art and engineering design were investigated. Then a model of perceptual elegance was developed using the concept of matter (mass) and the physical and perceptual characteristics were studied. In the next step, by exploring different texts for the various possibilities of applying elegance to architecture and matching with the prepared model, its types were identified, and they were examined in the two cases of Soltaniyeh Dome and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque.
Conclusion: The aspects of manifestation of elegance can be classified into at least three levels: at the macro level, the work may have elegance of geometry in the sense of formation process and system, spatial arrangement, placement, and orientation of elements; at the semi-macro level, we have elegance of structure and elegance of form of elements and organs; and at micro level, we may observe elegance of shell materials in terms of color, type and texture, and elegance of details in terms of connections and borders. Given the breadth and variety of its applications, the place of elegance in architecture goes beyond the expression of a particular style. The methods used by Iranian architects of the past to achieve physical elegance in its different varieties can offer inspirations for today’s Iranian architecture.


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