Ottoman houses in Berat

[Berat, Albania, March 2018] The theme of this year’s Spring School in Tirana, Albania was Space, Place, and Dwelling. One of the participants, she is finishing her PhD in Art History, talked about how faith influences architecture and the other way round. For her presentation, she took the case of Islamic influenced houses in Egypt. When they built their house, the interest was only centralized on what they needed, to have a safe place for themselves with their family. She explained to us that when building their house, they rarely thought about other people’s interests or needs. Along the way, with the influence of Islam and encounters with other culture, they started to build a house in a certain way, they changed the interior functions to allow more private spaces for women as well as the exterior feature, an indented head for instance so that it allows passers-by to shelter from the rain. To this extent, it happened also in some areas other than Egypt, where most of the old houses were built without any additional or external features to accommodate the needs of others. So if you look at the house on the top, a two-storey house, they made their front façade with indented head/second floor. It somehow shows the shifting of the function of a house, from personal to social interest. This city, Berat, is classified by the UNESCO as a rare example of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period.


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