A Symbol of Status and Glamour in Islamic Cairene Houses: “The QA’A”


ABSTRACT Houses refer to a collection of spaces that are formed following natural conditions, production relations and style, population structure, urbanization, features of societies, lifestyles, code of conduct, and traditions. In the cultures of different geographical areas, houses entertain a main living site and reception area in which guests are welcomed and that indicates the social status of the house dwellers and hierarchy inside this house. Such spaces are acknowledged as a reflection of socio-economic and socio-cultural emblem of house users. Likewise, in Islamic Cairene houses, the Qa’a is the main living and reception site. The main Qa’a, where in traditional Cairo life weddings, celebrations, important meetings and feasts were performed, is decorated glamorously to reveal its user's social status. The Qa’a comprises a lot of elements and it is generally formed by two main sections; Durqa’a and Iwan. Gender, privacy, hierarchy, religious thoughts, and climatization do play a role in forming such spaces. Within the scope of this research the Qa’a, accepted as the main reception site in Cairene house built between the 14th and 18th centuries of Islamic rule and exhibits all the basic characteristics that should exist in a dwelling, has been evaluated through samples in line with the forming elements of space and spatial features. By analyzing these spaces, it is viable to comprehend architectural and interior architectural features of the houses, lifestyle, economic, cultural, political, religious and many other traits of the period when the houses were erected.