Computers have been used for the reconstruction of historical buildings in architecture and archaeology in order to visualise forms that existed before. The goal of this paper is to push further the evolution of an architectural form of a high cultural significance in the history of Islamic architecture; muqarnas.
Muqarnas is a three-dimensional form whose visual function is to provide the gradual transition between two levels, two sizes, and or two shapes. It evolved over a period of eight centuries and, later, was neglected. Nowadays, it is being copied and introduced into the architecture of the Islamic world, but only as a rigid copy and not as a living evolving form. A long research on the computerisation of muqarnas over the last two decades aimed at pushing further the evolution of this form into new possibilities.
The basic theory behind this research revolves around typology. Defining a type requires stating all its perceived qualities, both of fixed values ‘characteristics’, and of variable values ‘attributes’. Creating new forms would be, then, giving new values for the attributes. A true evolution of the form happens when a characteristic is turned into an attribute and given new values. When this theory was applied in muqarnas research at many levels, it produced many new evolutionary steps which will be presented. The theory could be applied in other fields where there is a need for the evolution of traditional forms.