Page 1

ISMAILI JAMATKHANA and Center


Sacred Sites Quest

Cues & Clues Script

for The Ismaili Jamatkhana & Center Visit Clues & Cues Queries for Sacred Sites Questers: • As you arrive on the Jamatkhana’s campus, notice the external shape of the building. How is it laid out? What is the shape of its entire footprint? • What architectural shapes and forms strike you as you approach the Jamatkhana and Center from the parking lot? • How many columns support the four arches in the two brick walls outside the building? (The second and larger of these two walls is called the monumental wall.) What might their significance be? • Notice the courtyard and garden (called the “charbagh”) to the right outside the front door. Observe the central fountain and four channels laid out there. What effects are created by the fountain and surrounding layout of the charbagh? How do you feel as you spend time in this courtyard? What might these charbagh elements and their arrangement suggest or symbolize?

Cues & clues for inside the building: • Once you enter the front door, notice the tiles and colors used in the entrance hall or lobby. What might these different colors and shapes signify? Why was this color palette chosen by the architect? What effects does it create as you enter the building? • What is the shape of the roof or ceiling over the entrance hall? What effect or atmosphere does it create?


• • •

What role does light play as you enter the lobby? Why is light apparently such an important element in this architectural design? What is the central focal point of the social hall to the right of the lobby? How is the social hall designed to be used? How do you interpret the (part calligraphic) painting at the head of the room, and the Qu’ranic verse cited there? Why might this image, language, and core concept be so important to worshippers here?

Re: the outdoor sculpture opposite the front entrance (& parking lot): • What does it signify? What does the script written on it mean? Why is its pattern repeated?

• • • • • • • • • •

Cues & clues to explore the Jamatkhana’s more sacred spaces for this part of the Quest include: • What shape is the Rotunda right off the entrance hall? What effect(s) or atmosphere does the rotunda create? • How does the rotunda function in the context of the rest of the building? Notice all the architectural elements in the rotunda. What effects do they create? Notice the patterns and shapes in the upper portions of the rotunda, especially. What might they signify? In which direction is the prayer hall oriented? Why? What do you notice in the anteroom to the prayer hall? How do you feel as you enter and continue the transition into this part of the space? How do the ceilings change as you enter the prayer hall? How many entrances are there to the prayer hall? What might that number signify? What features of the prayer hall strike you the most? Why? What effects do these salient features create on your experience of the space? What is the significance of worshippers praying (prostrate) on the floor? Who is the figure in the photographs posted on the side walls? What is his significance to the members of the community who worship here? How does this experience of exploring a Muslim sacred space conform—or not— to your expectations? Was the prayer space similar to what you imagined it would be? Or was it somehow different?

Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center