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Attilo Petruccioli joined the Department of Architecture at M.I.T. in 1994. A specialist in typological study of Islamic and European urbanism, he was trained in architectural practice in Europe and northern Africa. Since his initial appointment at Rome in 1973, Petruccioli has taught in the Rome programs of both Pratt Institute and the Catholic University of America and at the University of Maputo in Mozambique, and has an ongoing commitment to the Ecole Polytechnique d' Architecture et d'Urbanisme in Algiers. Concurrent with his M.I.T. appointment, he continues to hold the rank of Professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara. He was the founder of the Islamic Environment Research Center in 1983 and has been Chief Editor of its journal, Environmental Design, since that time. He is the author of numerous studies of Islamic and Italian urbanism and landscape, most recently a major edited volume of Islamic gardens published by Electa of Milan in 1994. The theoretical framework developed from his studies of the Islamic environment was published as Dar al Islam, l'architectura del territorio nei paesi islamici in 1985 and as Fatehpur Sikri, citta del sole e delle acque in 1988.


Abstract of paper given at Islam and Ecology conference:
Nature in Islamic Urbanism: The Garden in Practice and in Metaphor

As a subject for architectural study, the discipline of the history of Islamic gardens is quite young. Until now it has been in the hands of art or literary historians, who emphasized the symbolic values conveyed by the garden in poetry--for example, the paradise-garden. If the idea of nature in Islam is referred to, there is a different orientation: garden and landscape are the testimony of the human activity to transform nature, which is a present from God. In this different vision, the garden is the aesthetic distillate of agricultural processes. As a consequence, emphasis must be placed on two important corollaries: 1) the concept of garden cannot be separated from the large scale of the landscape; and 2) the garden cannot be separated by its context. Furthermore, in the history of architecture, the garden and park design have often been used as the experimental laboratory for city design, and only in the second iteration is the green plan consolidated into stone. Thus, the two components, city and garden, are inseparable.

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