BRL 02 - 21 - 2010

Hagia Sophia parallel with Angkor Wat The term sustainability can be traced back before its recent revival in the last decade. A more historic use of the term comes to mind with the reuse and adaptation of religious buildings, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Followers of the differing faiths made use of the structure by adapting the ornamentation and decoration. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has adaptive reuse weaved into its history. Now what is a museum was once a mosque and a church, with changes between Islamic and Christian faith. This shift was made possible by tweaking the interior narrative. Because of Islamic belief against iconography Christian figures were covered up. In the Hagia Sophia we could see layers of the yellow paint (a mixture of egg and pine nuts) removed to reveal original images of earlier Christian times. When looking up at the dome we could see feathered masses in three directions with gold script on black disks below. The fourth one was revealed to be an angelís face. It was also interesting to see clues of earlier Christian decoration preserved as they didnít represent distractions for the Islamic follower and even reflected traditional Islamic art. Patterns of a cross and radiating Icthuse fish symbols mirrored a system of using geometries and color to represent nature in the Islamic faith. The Angkor complex in Cambodia also has a history of reuse with the ideas of adaptation and preservation. Angkor Thom in the complex was a successful multi use temple like the Hagia Sophia altering only the main icons specific to a religion currently in practice while preserving areas valuable to both. The change in Hindu and Buddhist faith, most likely the reaction to the changes in power, influenced the main sanctuaries and the core sacred spaces of the temples. While the inner figures of the opposed religion were removed, carved over and even defaced, the outlining rooms, courtyards and walls were of less concern and left intact. This made it possible for the frequent changes from Buddhist to Hindu faith. The orientation of the entrance to the complex would vary according to which gate represented the differing religions. Top Image- Christian symbols left uncovered by the Islamic use of Hagia Sophia Lower Image- View Of Angkor Thom

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