Algorithmic investigation of the actual and virtual design space of historic hexagonal-based Islamic patterns


This research examines the morphology of Islamic Geometric Patterns (IGP). Using mixed methods, including the simulation of historical designs and content analysis, this dissertation explores the question of how it is possible to mathematically describe the IGP. The study argues that the compositional analysis of geometry is not solely sufficient to investigate the design characteristics of the IGP, and the underlying mathematics and computational nature of the IGP should be considered when investigating historical IGP. ​ The study presents a parametric description method that captures the reality of the IGP in numeric form and utilizes the form to derive representational codes that include the information necessary to construct a geometry. The representational codes are utilized to further investigate the actual and virtual design space of the IGP, aiming at identifying morphological similarities between historical designs. This research challenges the long-standing paradigm that considers compositional analysis to be the key to researching historical IGP. Adopting a mathematical description shows that the historical focus on existing forms has left the relevant structural similarities between historical IGPs understudied. ​ The research focused on the historical, hexagonal-based IGP and found that hexagonal-based IGP designs correlate to each other beyond just the actualized dimension and that deep, morphological connections exist in the virtual dimension. Using historical evidence, this dissertation identifies these connections and presents a categorization system that groups designs together based on their ‘morphogenetic’ characteristics. ​ For more please read the paper published at the IJAC.


Selected Publications

“Algorithmic investigation of the actual and virtual design space of historic hexagonal based Islamic patterns.” International Journal of Architectural Computing (Scopus Cite Score 1.3). Mostafa Alani, 2018.

“A Parametric Description for Metamorphosis of Islamic Geometric Patterns.” Emerging Experience in Past, Present, and Future of Digital Architecture: The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) conference. Mostafa Alani, Carlos Barrios, 2015. 

“Fill in the Blanks: Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network to Investigate the Virtual Design Space of Historical Islamic Patterns.” The International Conference of the Arab Society for Computer-Aided Architectural Design (ASCAAD). Mostafa Alani. Bilal Al-Kaseem, 2021.

“Chronological Examination of the Morphology of Hexagonal Based Islamic Geometric Patterns.” Virtual + Actual: Process and Product of Design. Design Communication Association. Mostafa Alani, Michael Kleiss and Joseph Choma, 2018.

“A Parametric Metamorphosis of Islamic Geometric Patterns: The Extraction of New from Traditional.” Future of Architectural Research: Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) conference. Mostafa Alani, Carlos Barrios, 2015.