Taj Mahal
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Architect Emperor Shah Jahan
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Location Agra, India   map
Date 1630 to 1653   timeline
Building Type Islamic tomb
 Construction System bearing masonry, inlaid marble
Climate desert
Context park setting
Style Islamic
Notes Onion-shape domes, flanking towers, built for wife Mumatz Mahal.
Images

 


Photo, from a distance

Photo, close in looking up

Photo, inset bay and entry
Drawings

 


Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

Engraving

Engraving

More drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated.

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

Model Viewing Instructions
 Free 3D for the GBC
Discussion Taj Mahal Commentary

"A white marble tomb built in 1631-48 in Agra, seat of the Mugal Empire, by Shah Jehan for his wife, Arjuman Banu Begum, the monument sums up many of the formal themes that have played through Islamic architecture. Its refined elegance is a conspicuous contrast both to the Hindu architecture of pre-Islamic India, with its thick walls, corbeled arches, and heavy lintels, and to the Indo-Islamic styles, in which Hindu elements are combined with an eclectic assortment of motifs from Persian and Turkish sources."

—Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p223.

"The Mausoleum of the Taj Mahal at Agra stands in a formally laid-out walled garden entered through a pavilion on the main axis. The tomb, raised on a terrace and first seen reflected in the central canal, is entirely sheathed in marble, but the mosque and counter-mosque on the transverse axis are built in red sandstone. The four minarets, set symmetrically about the tomb, are scaled down to heighten the effect of the dominant, slightly bulbous dome. The mosques, built only to balance the composition are set sufficiently far away to do no more than frame the mausoleum. In essence, the whole riverside platform is a mosque courtyard with a tomb at its centre. The great entrance gate with its domed central chamber, set at the end of the long watercourse, would in any other setting be monumental in its own right."

"The interior of the building is dimly lit through pierced marble lattices and contains a virtuoso display of carved marble. Externally the building gains an ethereal quality from its marble facings, which respond with extraordinary subtlety to changing light and weather."

—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p624, 630.

Details

On a platform 22' high and 313' square.

Corner minarets 137' tall. Main structure 186' on a side, dome to 187'.

The mausoleum is 57 m (190 ft) square in plan. "The central inner dome is 24.5 m (81 ft) high and 17.7 m (58 ft) in diameter, but is surmounted by an outer shell nearly 61 m (200 ft) in height."

—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p630.

Specific design credit is uncertain, and is given by different sources to Istad Usa, Ustad Ahmad Lahori, Isa Muhammad Effendi, or Geronimo Veroneo.

Resources
Sources on Taj Mahal

"Online Trip to the Taj Mahal", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 38, 2001.0214, pC1.1.

Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan drawing, p140. section drawing, p141.

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. figure-ground plans, p111. eye-level perspective drawing, p141. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at Amazon.com

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD 2260.1012.0405. PCD 2260.1012.0405. PCD 2260.1012.0405. PCD 2260.1012.0405.

Dietrich Brandenburg. Der Taj Majal in Agra. Berlin: Verlag Bruno Hessling, 1969. NA6008.A33B7. plan, p94. elevation, p39. site plan, p68.

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. details and discussion p624, 630.   Expanded 1996 edition, available at Amazon.com

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. photo from across reflecting pool, p87.

Great Buildings Model Kit : Great Buildings of the World. Julian Bicknell, Steve Chapman (Contributor). Clarkson Potter(June 1995). ISBN 0517883503. — A kit book with detailed pre-cut scale models of four famous buildings: Monticello, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal, and the Parthenon. available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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