On Life and Soul of Spaces

“The great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy suggested that the fountain in a hot country was equivalent in importance to the open fire (in a fireplace) in a cold country- in terms of both practical use and symbolic significance. There is much to be said for this analogy as it brings home both the practical necessity and the intense symbolic significance of the fountain and the fire alike: how both help equally to reconnect with nature and the environment through different ways, both practically and symbolically. Just as the fountain is a living grace as it were at the heart of the courtyard house, the garden or mosque, so the fire- to those who live in a cold climate- brings not only much needed warmth but also essential cheer and homeliness, the ‘life and soul’ of the house in fact. It is no accident that heart and hearth are etymologically connected.”

-Emma Clark in her essay “Islamic Gardens” from Critical Muslim No. 19  Nature

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