The Alhambra
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Architect unknown
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Location Granada, Spain   map
Date 1338 to 1390   timeline
Building Type palace
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate mediterranean
Context urban
Style Moorish (Islamic)
Notes Palace of Nasrid dynasty.


Photo, courtyard facade overview and reflection

Photo, through archway across garden and fountain

Photo, exterior wall, arch, tower


Detail Drawing

Plan Drawing


Section Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

Detail Drawing

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3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

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Discussion The Alhambra Commentary

"On a hill overlooking Granada, the Alhambra—a sprawling palace-citadel that comprised royal residential quarters, court complexes flanked by official chambers, a bath, and a mosque—was begun in the thirteenth century by Ibn al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, and was continued by his successors in the fourteenth century. Its most celebrated portions—a series of courtyards surrounded by rooms—present a varied repetoire of Moorish arched, columnar, and domical forms. The romantic imagination of centuries of visitors has been captivated by the special combination of the slender columnar arcades, fountains, and light-reflecting water basins found in those courtyards—the Lion Court in particular; this combination is understood from inscriptions to be a physical realization of descriptions of Paradise in Islamic poetry."

— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p219.

Sources on The Alhambra

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. plan drawing, p194. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at

Donald Corner and Jenny Young. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1841.088. PCD.2260.1012.1841.087

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. Photo May 1987. PCD.2260.1012.1537.064. PCD.2260.1012.1537.063. PCD.2260.1012.1537.061. PCD.2260.1012.1537.059. PCD.2260.1012.1537.060. PCD.2260.1012.1537.062

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. London: The Butterworth Group, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. LC 86-31761. NA200.F63 1987. section drawing, fig f, p566. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at

Oleg Grabar. The Alhambra. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978. ISBN 0-647-01556-8. LC 77-24555. NA387.G73. ground plan drawing, endpaper. site plan drawing, f7, p31.

Spiro Kostof. A History of Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503472-4. LC 84-25375. NA200.K65 1985.   Available at

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. New York: Random House, 1975. color photo of the interior of the Hall of Judgement, p139. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

A. Rosengarten. A Handbook of Architectural Styles. London: Chatto and Windus, 1910. NA200.R7 1910. elevation detail drawing of court superstructure, fig296, p211.

Russell Sturgis. The Architecture Sourcebook. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984. ISBN 0-442-20831-9. LC 84-7275. NA2840.S78. Alhambra view from the south, p13. Alhambra construction detail drawing, p12.

Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986. ISBN 0-13-044702-1. NA200.T7. discussion p219. — available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about The Alhambra


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