Daylight, View-Out, and Windows: The Sensorial-Based Design of Ottoman-Era Mosques

Azeddine Belakehal, Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Amar Bennadji, Ikram Benkhalfallah, Djihan Bounhas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Daylighting and outside view, as window design parameters, are often the main ambience-generating design factors that connect the users' sensorial relationship to their external environment. These relationships and their resulting ambiences vary by building type and carry a heightened value in some specific typologies of which, religious buildings hold a paramount place. Indeed, the sophistication of openings' design strategies applied throughout centuries in religious buildings, are good learning grounds on the use of daylighting and its resulting sensorial impact on users. In addition to a literature review related to Ottoman religious architecture, this paper reports on an in-situ field investigation that explored these relationships in a corpus of forty-five (45) mosques in Bursa, Edirne, and Istanbul, dating back to the Ottoman era (1299-1923). Breaking with past schemes, the new design paradigm introduced drastic changes in plans, openings, windows, views, and daylight, which resulted in unique ambiences. The variables investigated in this study include: i) the window location within the mosque envelope (zenithal and/or lateral), ii) the window location concerning the conventional prayer direction referred to as "Qibla" wall, and iii) the window transparency that permits or stops/blocks the outside view. In addition, the view content encompasses the identification and categorization of the objects, as seen by the worshipers while performing their prayers, through the ground-level windows. The collected information was converted into a database for statistical analysis. By focusing on the human sensorial-based design in the Ottoman mosques, the results revealed the daylighting design specificities of the building envelope and the windows as well as the nature of the view out content Both of them attested to the human-centered design by Ottoman builders offering worshipers a strong connection to the external environment, thus creating ambiences conducive to spiritual fervor and beatitude.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZEMCH 2021 - 8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsKheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Mohammed Tariq Shafiq, Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
PublisherZEMCH Network
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789948310006
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Oct 26 2021Oct 28 2021

Publication series

NameZEMCH International Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2652-2926


Conference8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Daylighting
  • Heritage ambience
  • Ottoman mosques
  • View out
  • Window design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Computer Science Applications


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