Author(s)Hill, Kara Marietta
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AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is to examine the life of a Marseilles architect, Pascal-Xavier Coste (1787-1879), his architectural work in Egypt, and his subsequent historical publications on his return to France. In Egypt, Coste served as the chief architect of the Ottoman Viceroy, Muhammad Ali, during the early portion of his reign. Coste worked on modernizing Lower Egypt through various architectural and engineering projects. I plan to show that Coste was not only responsive to the needs of progressive design but was also sensitive to the Egyptian culture, creating a stylistic synthesis of European and Islamic forms. Unfortunately, due to Muhammad Ali's military expenditures, much of Coste's work was sidelined, to be built later in the governor's reign. Coste's original designs and realized buildings, however, continued to have a great impact on the design of Egyptian architecture throughout the nineteenth century. Through a narrative of the life of Coste concluding with his publication of Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Kaire in 1837, I will illustrate Coste's attitude toward the Muslim world, his reasons for compiling the study of Egypt's monuments, and the ultimate reception the book received in mid-nineteenth century France. Coste greatly admired the Islamic architecture of Egypt and through his work hoped to share this love with his European audience. In addition, he wished to contribute to the pursuit of Islamic architectural history. Ultimately, Coste's work had little impact on nineteenth century historical studies because of the change in European politics and Europeans' attitudes toward the Middle East during the later part of the nineteenth century. By discussing Coste's life in the context of contemporary historical developments, I will argue that Coste's innovative objectivity led to the neglect of his work during the nineteenth century and the renewed appreciation of it by historians of Islamic architecture in the early twentieth century and beyond.
by Kara Marietta Hill.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1992.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 258-296).