Behind the Roshān
: Visualising the Roshān as an architectural experience in traditional domestic interiors

  • Faredah Al-Murahhem

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research is important within the context of a distinct lack of detailed studies in the field, blended with the continuing disappearance of the roshān (the wooden projecting window in traditional houses in the Islamic world) through relentless modern development. The study focuses on the roshān's habitation and the experience of being within it. It also tells the story of its terminology and its historical background, both within its original milieu and beyond. Moreover, the study emphasises the senses and the fluid meaning of the space at different times during the day and on special occasions.

Visualising the roshān is a critical analysis that examines the roshān from different perspectives: firstly, from the Orientalists as non­native inhabitants, in their visualising of the roshān from outside, as well as their experience of being within it. Secondly, that of the indigenous inhabitants who experience their own senses; capturing various scenes within traditional interiors. 'Behind the Roshān'. offers an understanding of the roshān in a holistic cultural context of nineteenth-century domestic interiors in the Islamic world. It also looks beyond the notion of the roshān, locating it alongside current essential aspects, such as the hijāb (veil), in relationship to architecture. The sensory experience within the roshan complements this cultural perception and offers an insight into the normal daily inhabitation of this element within the interior.
Date of AwardFeb 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorJohn McKean (Supervisor), Geoffrey King (Supervisor) & Jonathan Woodham (Supervisor)


  • Accompanying CD-ROM

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