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Domes, Arches and Minarets: Islamic Architecture in America

Domes, Arches and Minarets: Islamic Architecture in America


>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C.>>Mary Jane Deeb: Good
afternoon, everyone, and thank you all for coming. I’m Mary Jane Deeb, Chief of
the African Release Division. And it’s a great pleasure
to have you all here for what promises
to be a wonderful, wonderful presentation on Domes, Arches and Minarets
by Mr. Phil Pasquini. And I just want to
say a few words, as I do regarding what we
do here in the division. We’re a division made up of
three sections; the African, the Mideastern, and the
[inaudible] sections. And we are responsible for
78 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia,
the [inaudible] and responsible for many, many of the
languages in the region. Our specialists are
scholars with knowledge of the region, of the languages. We are responsible
for the collections. So we command, we
collect, we shelve, we preserve and we serve. And we serve to our
patrons materials in the languages
of those countries. So if you’re doing research
on any one of those countries, the materials in those languages
are here in our stacks. But materials referring
in western languages to those countries are part
of the general collection. We always do programs,
as the one we have today, to enrich our knowledge of the
countries that we cover to share with our patrons
more information about those collections, and to show how our collections
are being used, are being used to write articles, to
write books, to inform. And many of our countries seem
often quite exotic [inaudible], having little to do
with the United States. But today’s program actually
shows how those very countries have had an impact and continue to have an impact on
the United States. And not just culturally
or linguistically, or in terms of food or whatever,
but physically in terms of the very architecture of
the cities and the programs. And it’s only by having
someone like Phil Pasquini go around the country, observe,
take pictures, and show and demonstrate the impact
of those cultures which seem so foreign to many and yet are
integrated and very much part of the United States landscape. It’s only by having someone like
him show it that we understand, we get a better understanding
of really the impact of the world on the US. So in order to introduce
the speaker, we have Joan Weeks who’s the
head of our [inaudible] section and also the Turkish specialist. She wears both hats. And who met Phil Pasquini at
a gathering and invited him when she realized how exciting
the work he was doing is, and she wanted to share with everyone the
work that he has done. So Joan will introduce
the speaker, and thank you again all
for being here today. [ Applause ]>>Joan Weeks: Thank
you, Mary Jane. I’d also like to
welcome everyone. And now it is my great pleasure
to introduce our speaker. Phil Pasquini is internationally
acclaimed photo journalist. In his professional
career he has worked as a college professor in
sculpture and industrial design, and has lectured
on these subjects in Europe and the Middle East. Since 1999 he has been
a staff photographer at the Washington Report
on Middle East affairs. This very interesting journal
I have here in my hands, and I invite you
to check for that. Also we have it in
our collections, and look for it as well. In his work as a
photo journalist, his photographs have appeared
in publications worldwide. He’s also worked as a foreign
radio correspondent reporting from Europe and the Middle East,
and across the United States. In 2010 he received
the prestigious Council on American Islamic Relations,
CAIR Award, for fairness and integrity in the media. In 1980 he received
a national endowment for the arts individual
fellowship, which allowed him to pursue a photographic study of ancient Egyptian
art and sites in Egypt. That, to me, sounds very
exciting, to be able to be able to go there and photograph
those fantastic treasures. He has traveled extensively
in North America, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle
East pursuing many significant and historical news stories. His interest in Islamic
architecture first evolved from a trip to Morocco in 1970 and has been an ongoing
photographic subject in his work since that time. He illustrated his book
Domes, Arches, and Minarets as well his lecture with images
from the library’s prints and photographs collection. Perhaps after today’s talk
you’ll see reflections of Islamic architecture
around you. I, for example, as I was
preparing this, was reminded of the paintings inside the
dome of the main reading room, which attributes the areas of the world’s knowledge
where they came from. And physics is attributed
to Islam. So perhaps you’ll see
more of these reflections as he goes through his lecture. Please help me welcome
Phil to the podium. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Phil Pasquini: I
have to hydrate first. Let me start by thanking
Joan Weeks and Doctor for inviting me here
today to speak. It’s a great pleasure
to be here. And I also wanted to
acknowledge how much of a part of this book I utilized the
resources of The Library of Congress in its production. It was very instrumental. I just want to make
a few comments first, and then I’ll get
into the presentation. But the purpose behind my
doing the book was, in part, to dispel the notion
that somehow on 911, which as you’ll remember
we celebrated or acknowledged the terrible
disaster yesterday, but how much that caused people to think
that somehow Islam arrived in America at that time. And what I tried to do in the
book historically was to focus on how much Muslims have
been a part of our country since before its inception on
the North American continent. And I will show you some
images that dispel that notion, at least for the most part. Domes, Arches, and Minarets. We’re having the
presentation today. [Inaudible Comments]. Oh, I’m sorry, okay. Is this better. All right. Okay. Well, the presentation
today, okay, good, in no small part, is brought
to us by basically two people. Al Huzen [phonetic], who
was from Baghdad originally but worked in Cairo in the
10/11 to 10/21 wrote a book on optics based on Chinese
observations and discoveries. And he created the camera
obscure, which if you’ll go down to the Renaissance
you’ll remember Da Vinci, a very [inaudible]
artist, utilized in order to project images to
copy them in their art. And then, of course, more modern
times, today’s presentation, with Apple computer and
the personal computer with Steve Jobs who actually
has a Syrian background. So we don’t think of these
things in those terms, but I think it’s important to conceptualize what
we’re looking at today. The earliest building built by
Muslims, and there are only two in the book that were
built by Muslims, and everything else was
built by non-Muslims. But the first one is
The Alamo from 1744. It was built by Moorish
craftsmen and designed by Moorish
Craftsmen. And we think of it normally
as an iconic building in the development
of Southern Texas and Texicanos in
American history. But little is acknowledged
about its original origins. Much to their credit, at the
Alamo itself, there is a panel that talks about the Moorish
design, which is most prominent on the El Pheese
[phonetic] which is the frame around the front door. And you can see in this
illustration the various carvings of floral motif. Another building that was part of The Alamo chain is the
Mission San Francisco de la espada, which is an
important building. It was initially going to be built much
larger than what it is. And the entry was a
quatrafoil, that you can see on the image on the right. So it was a circular,
four shapes for a flower and then a square running
into it, giving eight points, which is an important
thing in Islamic design. But when it was constructed,
you can see in the top image, the church was smaller. So they had to change
the pieces around. But had it been constructed
the way it was intended to, you see it’s much
larger for the entryway. And you get a better
sense for that shape. I first wanted to talk
about some of the influences on Islamic design in
American architecture. And probably the best place
to start is with literature. Almost everyone in the 1800s
utilized The Bible as a source of information and inspiration. And the illustrated Bibles
always depicted the Holy Land, as you can see in this image, with domes, arches,
and minarets. So it’s always as though
everybody in the Holy Land lived in either a mosque
or next to a mosque. You can see the city scape
is very filled with them. In 1883, the Villa Zorayda
was created by Franklin Smith, who was a self-taught architect. And he liked Islamic
style literature and built this building based on
a couple of books that he read. And he brought to Saint
Augustine the Islamic style of architecture that
it’s so famous for today. If you go down there,
you’ll see lots of buildings with Islamic influence. The other thing that helped
induce people’s interest in the Middle East, it was
referred to at that time as The Orient, was depictions of
illustrations from 1001 Nights, the Genie in the Bottle and The
Fisherman and all these things. They’re stereotypic,
iconographic images, but they’re always
depicted on a city scape over which is interposed or
superimposed domes, arches, and minarets once again. So this theme keeps
coming up visually in many of these depictions. In Hollywood today, at The
Highland Center, which was based on a film done by Cecil B.
DeMille, the ground is covered around the concrete with
granite oriental carpets that are designed. And it tickles me to see
people walking around and they don’t really
recollect or seem to understand the significance of the buildings’
Islamic origins. The only city built
in the US based on 1001 Nights theme was
America’s Arabian Night City of Opalocka, Florida. In 1924 it was designed. Well, it started out as going to
be an English Tudor styled city. And the developer, Curtis, who
invented or worked on aircraft and was instrumental
in development of aircraft carriers decided, when he took a woman
out, to look at the site. And she said, well, this
looks like 1001 Nights. So he hurriedly sent a telegraph
to his architect in New York and said we’re changing
the theme. I want it to be 1001 Nights. So the guy had to go out, get
a copy of the book, read it, looked at the illustrations
and came up. And this was the City Hall, which originally was
the real estate office. This is one of the homes
in the development. It actually had a dome
on it, at one point. So it looks like a
miniature mosque. But there’s still 124 buildings
in the city, original buildings from 1920s which depict the
theme in various manners. This is the Opalocka,
Florida train station and it’s still being used. It’s been renovated and
it’s now a childcare center. But if you dropped
me down there, I would swear I was in Morocco. It has such a heavy Moroccan
influence with the tiles and horseshoe arches and so on. Another part of literature,
of course, is Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,
spelled Alibaba. In Costa Mesa, California
they managed to slam Ali and Baba together. So it says Alibaba. This is a very American
building. The name is misspelled, for
what purpose I don’t know. It’s in Costa Mesa,
California and it’s run by a family from Taiwan. So it makes it even
more American in that very diverse sense
that we all celebrate. Another influence on
the public’s interest in and the development of
Islamic styled buildings was foreign travel. In the mid to late 1800s
only very wealthy people went overseas, many of
them to the Holy Land, a lot of them around the Levont. And many came back and
either added acutriments to the existing building
or the end or the built what I call
a souvenir of their trips. This was one building
built by Frederick Church. You may remember him as the
Hudson School River Painter. He made a fortune on a
painting, a huge painting that he charged 25 cents to see,
that went around the country. And he decided to build a
mansion after his family, his children all died
of child illness. And he and his wife decided
they would start a new family. They would build a new house. They would go overseas. They would come back and
they would have a fortress to protect the family
from further problems. So he started a French
Mansard style mansion. After he got to North Africa,
he telegraphed his architect. There seemed to be a lot
of telegraphs going back and forth with architecture. And he said, “I want to do
a Persian style building. So stop what you’re doing,
and I’ll send you drawings and designs,” which he did. And so today Alana
has this overlay on a French Mansard
style structure of his Islamic influence. And when you go in
the front door, there’s a glass clear
story window above it. In Arabic it says
Morhaba [phonetic] or Welcome in gold leaf. But his sense of
orientalism is very eclectic. He has Japanese,
Chinese, Himalayan, Great Masters Paintings
and all these other things on the interior. So the interior and
exterior are somewhat of a mishmash of styles. Another wealthy benefactor
to the arts was George Metz, who had a lot of
money from furniture and pharmaceuticals
in Quincy, Illinois. He went to North Africa and
sketched a lot of buildings. And when he came back,
he hired George or — yeah, George Barinsmyer
[phonetic], a famous architect in that region, to build
his house based on Tunisian and Moroccan buildings
that he saw. And he carried the theme more
intensively on the interior. And here you can see
in this building, a very elaborate
beautiful building, somewhat Hollywoodesque in
that the black and portion that you see on the walls
is actually painted. And these beautiful columns with this turned spiral
is actually pieces of wood that are glued together and twisted slightly
to create deterrence. So labor intensive and
it has all the intent of being authentic, but on a
very superficial sort of level. But nonetheless, a very
beautiful building. Amy Semple McPherson,
who was as many of you may remember a
radio Christian Evangelist who had a large following,
worked very hard in the 1920s, amassed tons of money
and decided to build herself a retreat based on her experiences
in the Holy Land. And so she had gone
to Jerusalem. And she came back and then
there’s this disconnect, Jerusalem being filled with
this wonderful brown stone. And she built an Andalusian
Spanish Moorish style building where she went to
on the weekends. But it was quite hush hush. She didn’t want her followers to know she was spending
money on this. So in the 1930s after
the stock market crashed, she was noble enough to sell her
building and take the proceeds and help feed people
who were her followers. And actually the church still
owns the building today, as far as I know. But it, too, is a
beautiful building. It formerly had crescents on
the tops of the two minarets. The church put the
cross up there, and the prayer room was the
room on the right with the dome. Famous buildings were
another source of inspiration, and this is the Taj
Mahal houseboat in Sausalito, California. It’s the only depiction of
Taj Mahal, that I know of, that has a wine cellar in
the basement below water. So it functions on a
very different level, but it’s a very beautiful
building as well. Of course you’re familiar
with Aya Sophia in Istanbul, which is set the notion of what
standard architecture should look like for Moorish
or for mosque design. It’s been the inspiration
for a number of buildings, one of which was
the Shriners Temple in Wilkesbury, Pennsylvania. You can see it looks very much
like it, with the exception of the four minarets
which are Indo-Islamic. But it’s a beautiful
building in very poor shape. They’re trying to restore
it, and they’ve been arguing about whether or not
it should be torn down. One of the most interesting ones
is the blue dome gas station in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
based on the Aya Sophia. This was common. This was the first gas station
that was built on a corner. Gas stations, when
they were first built, were built mid-block and
people had a hard time getting in and out of them. Somebody got the bright idea
if we put it on a corner, people can come from
all directions. And so this was the
solution to that. It has a mechanic’s bay in an
L shape, and that’s important for what I’ll show
you in a moment. Today this is a very famous
building that was going to be torn down, but people
raised a lot of noise about it. So they kept it. And the district around it’s now
called The Blue Dome District. So it’s inspired
again from Aya Sophia as Calmos [phonetic] number
1 was inspired in Hollywood, California on a corner
with a mechanic’s bay and L shape and two minarets. And some time ago
they tore everything down except the minarets. So if you drive down
Sunset Boulevard today, there are what people
refer to as rocket ships or pencil towers, not knowing
the history behind the building. This just tickles me, because
it’s so obvious and apparent if you’re really attuned
to Islamic design. But it has this wonderful
character about it. This is the Thanksgiving
Chapel from Dallas, Texas designed by
Philip Johnson. And when Dallas was doing
a renovation downtown, they decided they wanted
to celebrate a theme. And they came up with the
theme of Thanksgiving, and they offered that
to any group that wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving
to come up with a design. So a group came together and
they hired Philip Johnson, and he first came
with the mockett of stacked blocks,
like a ziggurat. And he said this will work. And the woman who I met
there said this is crazy. Thanksgiving should
spiral the heaven. And he said I’ll be back. And he went back and he knew of
the very tall minaret in Iraq. And he looked at that and decided this would be a
good answer for the solution. And he came back and they built
a nondenominational spiral based on the minaret, which, by the
way, the original minaret was so tall that when the Moesn
[phonetic] called to prayer, no one could hear
him because he was like 160 feet off the ground. World’s Fairs were another
thing that induced people to orientalist architecture
and styles. And the World’s Fair in
Chicago in 1893 was one of many. They had the risque
belly dancer, Little Egypt, at that time. And one of the most popular
exhibits was the Moorish Palace. And there was always an
ethnographic division, and one of the most
popular ones starting in France earlier was
called Streets of Cairo where they had real Egyptians
and hookahs and oriental carpets and souvenirs and
a sook and so on. And so this really built
this notion of familiarity and interest in orientalist
design and architecture, much of which was
embodied later. This is the East
Indian Pavilion in 1898 at the Chicago World’s Fair. And one of the people who
went there was a very wealthy developer from California
who built El Miradero, and that was Leslie Brand,
which today is a public library. But you can see how similar
these two buildings are. And he took lots of photographs. And when he came back,
he hired an architect and this is what
he came up with. This is a famous building
that has a story behind it. Munenori Yamasaki is the
Japanese-American architect who was interned during
World War II in the camps, went to college,
graduated as an architect. Went to an office,
started drawing lines, got very bored, decided
to travel. Traveled around the world. Got to India. He saw the Taj Mahal. He went to the Middle East. He saw all these buildings and he became enamored
with Islamic arches. And in 1962, he designed
the US Sinus Pavilion for the Seattle World’s Fair. But his most famous
building were the Twin Towers in New York, which is kind of
a hidden piece of information that they were influenced
by Islamic arches and even referred to,
ironically enough, as The Plaza between the two buildings
using a small M as the mecca in the
United States. So there’s this wonderful
connection that’s so bizarre. And if you wrote it, people would consider it fiction
most probably originally. Advertising, another thing where we have Ottoman Turk
tobacco being presented in chocolates. The Egyptian theme. The Hills Brother
Sudanese drinking coffee, which was referred to as
the wine of the Arabia. I love that as coffee. It has wonderful ring to it. Hollywood, of course, has done
nothing to promote good view of Arabs or Muslims, but
it has been instrumental in reinforcing once again
this architectural designs and so forth. And you can see in every
depiction there’s the same thing there, the same theme;
domes, arches, and minarets. Even movie theaters
were thematic. I can’t think of how
many Islamaphobes may go to Alhambra Theater and
never put the two together in their mind as
separate and distinct. But one very interesting theater
is The Missouri Theater built by the Boller Brothers
in St. Joseph, Missouri. They were regional architects
and they worked a lot on thematic movie theaters. And here we have a Moorish
Endo-Islamic design. When you go inside it’s
Assyrian and Babylon, for some unknown reason. They keep slamming
these things together. It has this beautiful painted
canopy and a light show of stars and the moon going in and out. So it was really overwhelming. Nobody’s done more for
Islamic design probably than the Shriners, and
you remember those guys. They used to have what
they called Shrine Mosques. Then they called
them Shrine Temples. Now they refer to them
as Shriners Buildings. But they’re the guys in the
little cars that drive around and they have clowns, raise money for benevolent
organizations. And they refer to themselves
as Masons who have fun, which I think is
kind of a nice hook. Their earlier building,
the Lu Lu Temple from 1904 in Philadelphia. Lu Lu in Arabic means pearl. So it was the pearl
temple, and it set the stage for all following buildings. They wanted to identify
themselves on the landscape in a unique Islamic style. And I don’t think you can
go anywhere in the country where there isn’t an
old Shriners Temple that depicts that. And these things have become
so familiar on the landscape that no one thinks about their
origins or their influences, which is rather interesting. The oldest building
built in Islamic style in the US probably was
this building from 1829, built by Mrs. Trollop
[phonetic], who was an English
writer who they referred to as Old Madam Vinegar. I guess that talks a
lot about her demeanor. But she came to the
US as an abolitionist. She joined a group of
abolitionists in Memphis in an area called German Town. It was nothing more
than a swamp. Their concept was to pay
slave owners what it cost for a specific person and
take them under their wing and let them work the
monies that they paid out. So it was really kind of a
mishmash of understanding about giving people freedom. She lived there for about six
months, became very confused by what was going on, left,
moved back to Cincinnati, said America has no culture at
all and Cincinnati has nothing. So she decided to create a
cultured temple, if you will. Seneca Palmer was her architect. They looked at buildings
from Egypt. She found a mosque she liked. She built this building. She used it for art
shows, poetry readings, musical performances, drama,
and various other venues. The whole thing went
bust in about six months. She was disgusted. She moved back to Europe. Later died and was
buried in Florence. But it was the first
purpose known building in an Islamic style
that we know of. Another early building. This is Exodent [assumed
spelling], still with us, in Columbia, Tennessee, The
Atheneum which was built by President Polk’s
nephew in an Islamic style. We believe that when it
was built the two wings on either side were not there. So it was just a central
portion that was painted white. He never lived in it. He rented it to the
founder of The Atheneum, who actually was the inventor. And in the book I talk a lot about the history
of the buildings. And really it’s a cross section
of known and unknown things in portions of America
and art history. But ultimately to shrink
the story, the gentleman who lived here invented one of the first torpedoes during
the Civil War that was used by the Confederacy
against the US Navy. So there’s lots of
information that’s ancillary. Well, the one person who
did a tremendous amount for Islamic architecture
was PT Barnum who built a building
he called Iranistan. And this and the
next image are both from The Library of Congress. He was such a great promoter that when the building was
being built and afterwards, people would go by on the
train from New York up. I can’t think of the
town now in Connecticut. Bridgeport. And he got the time
tables and he hired a guy who he dressed as a Hindu. Why, I don’t know. And an elephant that
he put a plow on, and he had it plowing the fields when the train went
up and came back. And this, of course, overnight
was a sensation in newspapers. Everybody picked up on it and said Barnum’s building
this Islamic styled house and he’s got, you know,
Arabs working in the fields. So the amount of information
was really messed up. This again is from The
Library of Congress. It’s Iranistan, which
we know about the stans and this is an interesting
depiction. He had one cardinal rule, and that was no smoking
in the building. He entertained Jenny
Lind here, who hated him. And when she came to this house
she said, “I’ll work for you. I’ll sing whatever you want.” So he got her under his wings. Somebody was working in there. They left their pipe
overnight and it burned up. It was completely destroyed. Another thing that
induced people’s interest in the Middle East or The
Orient, as it was referred to again, was Jefferson Davis who created the camel cores
just before the Civil War, where they brought camels from
the Lavont in Saudi Arabia to the US for the US Military. And the calvary thought
this was kind of weird. And then when they got
on them to ride them, they absolutely hated
the camels. But this was in every
newspaper all over the country
for a long time. They brought this
gentleman with him. He was actually a Greek
who had converted to Islam. His name was Haji
Ali [phonetic], and they couldn’t
pronounce his name so they called him
Hi Jolly [phonetic]. And Hi Jolly was the
leader of the camel core. And when he died, they
buried him in Quartzite, Arizona which is in the
middle of the desert, high desert in Arizona. And my wife Elaine and I visited
his grave a few years ago, and would had not understood
about it was they used red, white, and blue rocks
in building the pyramid. So it’s this very American
pyramid of Egyptian origin with a camel at the top. But his story really induced
a lot of interest in things. And one of the most incredible
buildings is by Haller Nutt. Nutt’s Folly they called it. This was built in Natchez,
Mississippi by Holler Nutt who was a plantation owner. He was a cotton grower. And he and his father had gone
to Egypt and stolen some seeds under the threat
of death, came back and became fabulously wealthy. And for his wife, Holler
Nutt hired Samuel Sloan from Philadelphia to
build this building. They started a year, couple years before
the Civil War started. And right when the Civil War
started, they were given a date that all the Yankees, if they
weren’t on the other side of the Mason-Dixon
Line, would be executed. So all his workmen ran away. They only finished the exterior. The roof was unfinished,
but the roofer came back and said I’ve got finish
it even if they kill me. The building’s got to
be, have a proper roof. So he did fix it. But even today, if you go
there, you’ll see buckets of paint the way they
were left in 1862. The workmen just
abandoned the building and it’s been preserved
in that state. Here you can see all
the building materials and the arches for
the stonework. The building’s used now by a lot of universities and
institutions. Architectural students
will come here to look at building techniques
from the 19th Century. So it’s a really
interesting place. It’s a time capsule of
what went on in that era. Here you’re looking
up into the dome. This is an interesting building. It’s the Scroll and Key Tomb. For those who couldn’t get
in to Skull and Bones at Yale in New Haven, they
took their rejection and said we’ll build
our own tomb and we’ll do it in
Islamic style. And if you look at the two
buildings, Scroll and Key, and the bones men, as
they call themselves, this is much more beautiful,
much nicer a structure. This is a Turkish pavilion from
Saint Louis in the park there. It’s one of the more
interesting buildings. It should have a carousel
underneath it, but it doesn’t. And it’s a fantasy depiction of what obviously a Turkish
pavilion would look like. This is an Israel synagogue
in Owensboro, Kentucky. And it utilizes two very
prominent Islamic designs, the Turkish turbines at the top
and the gothic arched windows. And the gothic arched windows
are originally inspired by Islamic architecture
in the Islamic arches. So we see this heavy
influence in both instances. This is the home
of Charles Curtis, the only Native American
Vice President in the US. It’s in Topeka, Kansas. Charles Curtis was a Kaw
Indian, and he bought this house from a doctor and
the doctor had. This was quite popular
at the time, and that was putting
an accouterments on an existing building
to make it more exotic and give it an ambiance of
knowledge and experience that the person may
not actually have. So they use these modified of
Moorished art, Moorish domes. This is in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. It was built by a doctor. Or actually it was built first. Sorry. It was built
by a lumber baron who hired a Swedish-American
architect to building the building. And he told him I
need two domes on it. So he built the barrels
to support the domes, and just below you can see
there are some circular designs. And those are Swedish, from
Swedish myths and stories. So we have another amalgam of
an Edwardian style structure with Swedish accoutrements
in Islamic design. This was a building that was
instrumental in development of the gasoline- fired soldering
iron, because the tinsmith who was working on the modified
Islamic dome had an assistant that ran up the ladder with a
hot iron and handed it to him and he could seal about an
inch and it would cool off. And the kid would
have to run down and grab another
one, run back up. So he thought I need
to do something, and he invented this
particular device. While buildings were built,
so were tombs and cemeteries. And in New Orleans,
this was a tomb built for the Lariden [phonetic]
family in Islamic style,
rather interesting. If you see a Victorian cemetery, you’ll see depictions
periodically of Islamic style buildings. This is a Tampa Bay hotel built between 1888 and
1891 in Florida. The building is so huge
that when we went there to photograph it,
we walked around it. It’s one mile around the
exterior of the building. There are like something
like 500 rooms, hotel rooms. The developer, who was like
Flagler on the west coast, had tons of money and went to Europe while the
building was being built and bought 18 train carloads
of antiques and European and Islamic objects to
furnish his hotel with so that New Yorkers
would be induced to something they
were comfortable with during the winter to be
ensconced in the same ambiance that they had in New York. These are some of the
carpenter gothic details of Moorish arches. And I love the minarets, the
domes on them in a Turkic style in that they’re painted silver
in the wonderful ironwork. This is the Union
building in New York where Andy Warhol had his second
studio, where he was shot. And I believe a woman,
the other guy was killed. And his part of the studio was
the central part that you see with the Moorish arch. These are buildings from the
20th and 24th Century now. This was very common. This is a Turkish corner
for smoking in Hannibal, Missouri in a mansion. And actually Mark
Twain came here and Samuel Clemmons came
here and gave a talk and was very impressed by this. In fact, Moorish smoking
rooms became so popular that Sears catalogs would
sell you the whole room for about $80. You could have an ottoman,
a divan, a hookah, drapes, all this stuff so that you
could have this in your mansion. And many of these
buildings had an extra room that nobody identified with, or the room was designated
specifically for viewing a coffin when
one of the owners died. And after a while,
people found that as kind of a morose kind of thing. So they decided to upgrade it, with the new smoking room,
Turkish smoking room. This is the Sauntry Mansion
in Stillwater, Minnesota. And Sauntry was a lumber baron. He was a very wealthy guy,
and he built the gymnasium on his house in an
Islamic style. And he got his architect to
get passages from the Koran in Arabic to stencil on
the walls, and they did. They stenciled them all
over the walls religiously. The only problem was they
couldn’t read Arabic, so they were all
stenciled backwards. So it has this kind of
great character about it. Good intentions; bad,
you know, follow through. Berkeley, California. This is one of a number of
houses that look exactly alike, except for this one which has
the OG [phonetic] Islamic arches on the front porch. And I’m sure everybody in
the neighborhood talked about this house and related
to it, in some way or other. But it’s a very interesting
building. This is a wonderful
building in San Francisco. I remember this from many, many
years ago and from my youth. It’s an Edwardian
structure that was built by the Vindanta [phonetic]
Society, which is a followers of a Swami who was
into medication and vegetarianism and so on. He was at the World’s
Fair in San Francisco, and then he decided to stay. And he built this building. And the interesting part of
the design is across the top of the building, each
of these structures. This is for Christianity. This celebrates the
Hindu Temple in India. This was Islamic
Crescent and Trident. This one I love. It’s the Hershey Kisses
domes, it’s called. Below is a Mugal [phonetic]
style from Taj Mahal, and then we have Moorish
columns and Mogel arches. So it’s got really
everything thrown into it. And it’s so exotic that
when you look at it, you almost get retinal fatigue. There’s so many things going on. This was a building built
by a very wealthy developer. It’s called the El Hambra
[phonetic] Apartments. He built his penthouse
at the top. I was not able to get in there. But it was a very expensive
building and very expensive, at the time, part of town. Now everything around
it is pretty stressed, but this building’s been
maintained quite well. This is another favorite
building of mine, the Islamic. It’s called The Islam Temple, and it’s now the
Alcazar Theater. And the Shriners were good. When they built the building, they always had commercial
spaces. And when I would show this to
my class, when I was lecturing, they’d go that’s the parking
lot, because they have a garage. It was built by T. Patterson
Ross, who was the architect who rebuilt Chinatown
after the 1906 earthquake. And he built it in a hyper
Chinese style to look like a series of temples. And to the westerners
it looks exotic, and to Asians it looks
exactly like temples. And nobody can dispel
the difference there. But they hired Patterson
because he was a Shriner. And they said we want you
to build the new mosque, and he said I’ll
be happy to do it. And he did. And he said there’s
one thing I want to do. I want to put my name
on the cornerstone. And they went, no,
you can’t do that. It’s only for the potentate. Only his name can be there. And he said I got
to have it on there. And they had this
argument back and forth. So it was about 30
years after it was built that somebody actually
who could read Arabic came to the building. And they looked, and they saw
that across the top it said in Arabic in these
glazed tiles “All Those That Enter, Enter in Peace”. And on the right it says, “Ross is an Architect
of No Equivalent”. And on the left side, it
has another depiction. So it was too late
to do anything. And he got his name
exactly where he wanted it, which was pretty interesting. This is the tallest minaret
in the United States. It’s 142 feet tall. It’s in Helena, Montana and
it’s attached the Algeria Temple built in 1921. And around 1925 they decided to
take the top of the minaret off and put a huge search light
so that aircraft flying in would know they were
getting close to the airport. And fortunately the people
in town raised a ruckus. They went to City Hall and
they screamed and yelled. And they went, okay,
okay, we’ll put it back. And they did put a top piece
on it, but it’s very different than what was there originally. This is another very funny
building, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota,
where all the paintings on the building itself are
done with wheat and rye and various grains and grasses that are grown commercially
in the area. Corn palaces were used
to get people to move to the upper midwest in the late
1800s when land was very cheap. And they wanted to display
what you could grow, the bonny of the land. And so they would have these
pavilions and festivals, and people would come from
different parts of the country and decide that they
wanted to settle down there. So it was an inducement
to develop the land. This is the Angeles
Abby built in 1923. It’s a cemetery in LA. This is a column barium. There are three primary
buildings there, all incredibly rich styles. Some very academic, and
some more fantasy like. This is the town of Gerard,
California developed in 1923 by a guy by the name
of, what else, Gerard. It’s now called Woodland Hills. But he built a faux Turkish
Village at the crossroads and he had a published newspaper
every day about what was going on in town, which was nothing
because it was empty lots. And he had a butcher shop and a grocery store,
and a gas station. And he had what he called sucker
buses to bring people from LA to the valley, where nobody
would ever live today. It’s, of course, one mega city. But he used the Turkish
theme as an inducement to draw people to
his development. This was one of the first
temples in New York, 1923, The Mecca Temple built
for the Shriners. It just underwent another 60
million dollar renovation. I think they’ve had two
in the last 12 years, if I remember correctly. It is an absolutely beautiful
building, both inside and out. The first female architect in Los Angeles was Marie Russick
Hutcher [assumed spelling], who was part of the Cortana
Society, who moved to LA from Chicago and New York and built their own
structures all in Islamic style. And they later moved to Ojai, California when they
found cheaper land and had different needs. This is the Sparklets
Drinking Water company, which looks so Moroccan to me. It had two minarets that were
cracked during an earthquake, so they were taken down. So this is all that’s
remaining today. This is Patio del Moro,
which is a Tunisian tower that you can see
in the background. It’s El Mahad [phonetic],
so it’s a square minaret. And then it has this
Islamic Moorish style, very beautiful building. Humphrey Bogart and one of his
mistresses had two rooms here and there’s a lot of Hollywood
history behind this building. It’s rather interesting. I love this building. The Crescent Laundry
in Tyler, Texas, and I love the railroad
crossing sign. And it’s the perfect
composition, in my mind. They’ve renovated it. And in my mind, they’ve
completely destroyed it. They painted it and put flowers. But at the time that I
was able to photograph it, it was still pretty
in its normal state. Apartments. Interesting building. If you look, there’s a
Hershey’s Kiss dome on the left and around the dome
on the right. And if you look on the
windows just below the domes, the shapes of the exact
opposite from the one. So it’s this diagonal
crisscrossing. I like the American
flag in the window, too. And the Alamo parapet,
which takes us back to the original building. I’m sure they used it
for other purposes. This is a wonderful
academically correct building, if you’ll accept that
it’s both Endo-Islamic and it has some Moorish
accouterments. The Shrine Temple and it’s a
Tripoli Temple in Milwaukee. And I often wondered
what Shriners did. And Lynn and I, when we were
there, got to go inside, and I found out they
drink beer and play pool. Because inside it’s mostly pool
tables and big kegs of beer, which is rather interesting. But here’s the dome, the
interior of the dome, which is absolutely beautiful. It has Star of David, and
then Koranic inscriptions. This is in Washington, DC, the Almas Temple at
McPherson Square. They were building what’s
now the new Washington Post building, and the
developer wanted to buy the property
and tear it down. And they fought him,
hook and nail. They finally struck a deal that
they would move the building to the end of the lot, because
it was going to be in the center where the building was. So the Shriners agreed to it. If they didn’t have
to pay for anything and they built everything
behind it brand new, to meet their needs,
which they agreed to. So they took 30,000 tiles
off of the building, built the new building,
went back to put them back. And somebody said
where’s the plans? And the answer was, what plans? So they had to work for
three years in a warehouse, reassembling 30,000 tiles back to the original depiction
of the buildings. So I’m sure somebody lost
their job over [inaudible]. I can only imagine. This is, I call it,
the Vertical Castita. It’s in San Francisco. You look at it. It has parabolic
arch, very Islamic. The Islamic screen and
so on is superimposed between these other
two buildings. This is on 18th Street,
like 18th and Connecticut, I believe, a beautiful building. It’s got some huge banner
about beer in front of it now. I don’t know. It’s a nightclub
perhaps, or something. This is a Moorish mosque
residence in Los Angeles, has this wonderful dome
covered with mosaics. This was a Turkish building
at Crossroads of the World, which is a studio that
Charlie Chaplin built. And it has thematic
clusters of buildings. There’s English Tudor buildings
and French Provincial buildings. And this is their depiction
of the Turkish building. Another tomb from
Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans from 1939. This is Aub Zam Zam Cocktails. Zam Zam water is the
holy water from Mecca, and this guy is a Syrian. He didn’t like Islamic theme. So he opened a cocktail
bar called Aub Zam Zam. And it’s got these little
minarets above the top. You go inside, it looks
like Omar Kyam [phonetic]. There’s all these paintings and
gazelles running on the wall. This is from 1947, the
National Date Festival in Indio, California. It’s a backdrop for the things. They have a play every
year, a thematic play. The year we were
there, it was Chinese. So it was almost like an
Iban Batuta [phonetic] thing with this overlay, with
this in the background. And here’s just one of the other
parts of it, which is, I mean, out of context like this, it could be anywhere
in the Muslim World. This is Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Civic Center, Marin County, were we live part-time. Frank Lloyd Wright was
hired by the King in Iraq in the early 1950s, who
said I want to rebuild, destroy Baghdad, want
to tear everything down. I’m going to build a
modern Islamic City. And Frank Lloyd Wright did a
tremendous amount of research and came up with
all these designs. The King was deposed. The project didn’t move forward. In 1957 the community, county
community came together and decided to build
a new civic center. They wanted to hire
an architect of note. So they hired Wright. They said we want
to build a building. What do you suggest? He came to the site and he said
I know exactly what you want, what you need. And he used his design to build
what’s essentially a mosque. It has these large loyas
[phonetic] with arches, and it’s got this huge
dome and the minaret, which in this case exhausts all
the exhaust for the building. But it’s a beautiful building
and people pass it all the time in recoliating [phonetic]. This is in a country club
plaza in Kansas City. The first, what can I say? Shopping center that you
needed an automobile to go to. This started the
scorage on the land, but in Islamic style as well. This is an interesting building. It’s called The Mosque
by its neighbors. It’s in San Marino
California, and every building around here is a
ranch style house. And this is completely
incongruent with its surroundings,
but very distinct. It was built on the
courtyard of the architects from a famous El
Handra [phonetic]. This is the Palace of Wax
in Grand Prairie, Texas. It was Ripley’s building. So it’s a thematic
building to induce people for entertainment
when they enter. This is Medina Wassel
[phonetic]. This is a US Army National
Training Center for troops for pre- deployment
certification before they go to Iraq or Afghanistan
and on this base. There are many bases that
have similar operations, but on this case there are
13 what they call lanes which are scenarios for different depictions
of situations. And this one, it’s
very calm looking and then suddenly
everything starts happening where some troops come
into town unguarded. And the so called insurgents
are trying to take them away. And so they have to come in and
try to negotiate with people and fight their way in
and fight their way out. So this is just one depiction. All the actors who are working
here are actually Iraqi natives. So they only speak Arabic. And the buildings are all built
out of shipping containers by a company that builds
Hollywood backdrops. Here’s another portion. You can see a solider standing
back, in the background, and these guys are walking. But everything is domes and
arches and minarets, and so on. This I found interesting. This is from the college that I showed you
earlier, Tampa University. And this is an American
flag flying under a crescent
ever since 1884. So it’s been around
for a very long time. And that’s the end. [ Applause ] I’d be happy to take
any questions or comments that you have. Yes, ma’am?>>I have a question. I want to know [inaudible] very
curious [inaudible] Ukrainians.>>Ukrainians, right.>>Yes. It’s my [inaudible]. So it’s up behind
their national shrine up there with [inaudible].>>Oh, okay.>>It looks more like
a mosque than it does.>>Phil Pasquini: I’m
not familiar with it, but I’ll have to check it out.>>Yeah.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah.>>Yes, on like [inaudible]
and Taylor.>>Phil Pasquini: Okay.>>Yeah, looks it’s in
white with gold domes, a number of gold domes.>>Phil Pasquini: Interesting.>>While it could be
in Saint Petersburg, the colors don’t match.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah.>>Yeah. It’s just, yeah,
something to look [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: Well,
there’s the onion-shaped dome on Russian Orthodox buildings. And that’s borrowed, if you
will, from Islamic design as well because where Russia is
and where these things overlap. So there’s a lot of
cross-pollenization like that, but I will check that out.>>I think that dome
has a [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: It
could, yeah, interesting. Yes?>>How [inaudible]. Because that number
being [inaudible]. I actually thought
it was a mosque.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah.>>Until you walk up
to it [inaudible]. And they weren’t expensive.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah. Yeah.>>What is the connection?>>Phil Pasquini:
So it goes back to I can’t remember the year,
but it was early 1900s I believe that there was a
guy who was a mason who was in Southern France. And he was invited to a party
for an oriental potentate. And we got there, everybody
was in oriental dress. They had Tarboosh
fezzes [phonetic] and they had balloon
pants and turned-up shoes. And he thought this is great. This is exactly what
we need in the masons, because it’s so drab and boring. And he came back to New York. And he met a fellow mason. He was an actor, and the guy
that he met was a doctor. And they decided that
they would do something. So they said, well, let’s
start a separate offshoot. We’ll start the Shrine,
because they were thinking about mosques and shrines. And so they started
The Shriners. And their depiction,
it’s very Egyptian if you look at the symbology. They have the Spinx and then
there’s the Simatar [phonetic]. And when they meet somebody
they say [foreign language]. And the response is
[foreign language]. And they have a secret
handshake, which I haven’t been
able to get to the bottom of because I don’t belong. And they originally
named their buildings. And they purposely built the
buildings in an Islamic style to make them distinctive
on the landscape. And this is what German Jews
did with mosques starting in the 1850s in Germany. They decided they wanted
a distinctive style for a synagogue that would
also delineate their presence on the landscape. So The Shriners decided
to build these buildings. And when you see them,
they always have a fez on. And if you look, you
know, they have ties with pyramids and so on. So they have become really
affected by all of that, which I find really interesting
especially in today’s world. And so many of these
things are disconnected. I don’t know how many
people really know that a fez has orientalist
or Islamic origins or now it’s been used a
sign, a symbol of repression under the Ottomans and so on. So there’s all these
historical, you know, things that go on
with it was well. That’s kind of a backdrop. And I do go into the history
of The Shrine in the book, because I wanted to
contextualize that as part of this history as it
evolves and moves forward. But they’re significant. And since doing the book, I
think I found over 235 buildings that are still existing
in this style. So they’re pretty
much everywhere. And a lot of people will say
to me afterwards, you know, I was in Philadelphia and I
was going down this street. And after I saw what
you had in that book, I saw this other building. So these people have
become, you know, sensitized to opening their
eyes and seeing these things, which I think is really
positive, you know, good thing. Yes?>>On a more contemporary level,
I know when you go down I-75, Toledo, Cleveland, there’s a
big mosque there on the side of the highway of I-75. Are you familiar with that one?>>Phil Pasquini: No, I’m not. I haven’t gotten outside of
the beltway, when I’m in DC. It’s a big problem for me.>>And the second thing
I was going to ask. I was just at a convention
in New Jersey [inaudible]. You’ve been to Harlem?>>Phil Pasquini:
In New York, yeah.>>Okay. When you go, there’s
a building that’s now called [inaudible] Malcolm
Chabazz [phonetic].>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah, Chabazz. I know it, yeah.>>The architect who
put the dome on there, he was given an award,
a lifetime award.>>Phil Pasquini: Oh, good.>>His last name is Sampson. He’s 90 years old now.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah, that’s
an interesting building. That’s about a block away
from the Chabazz Market, I think, which is near there.>>Yeah, they actually
run the market.>>Phil Pasquini:
Yeah, they do, okay. Yeah, I thought it
was connected. That’s cool. That’s a good building. Yes, Joan?>>Joan Weeks: I’m just
absolutely fascinated with all of the way, his stories
behind his buildings and how he uncovered
some of those stories. [Inaudible] historical societies
or have you come across people who kind of remember how
these things [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: It really
somewhat serendipitous and a lot of hard work, and a lot of
Googling, a lot of reading, a lot of looking at maps
that were located in the map and geography division in
The Library of Congress. And then just a lot of
real hard searching. And in some cases, I was able to
find the architect of buildings that nobody knew who
the architect was. It had gotten lost in
historical records. Some people, when I went to the
building, they said, oh, yeah, we love this building. It’s the only one
in the US like it. And I felt terrible telling
them no, it’s one of many. But it was a good learning
experience for them, because then they
realized that, you know, Islamic design has been
part of American culture for a very long time,
before we were a country. And so, you know, they somewhat
came more around to thinking about these things
as not threatening, but as part of a
historical thing. But a lot of reading. I met a lot of wonderful
people who are caretakers for the buildings, who
are really into it. Many of them had stories. Holler Nutt’s Building
in Natchez. I met a woman who lived
there, when she was a kid, because her aunt was
a descendant of Nutt. And they lived there as a
child and tourists would come. And she’d tell people,
oh, don’t go in that room. There’s a ghost in there. And these people are,
oh, my God, you know. And so they had their
own interpretation and depiction of the building. So I did learn quite a lot from
people who owned the buildings. And then I tried to,
each plate in the book, there on the left
side there’s the names of the building’s been known
under, the year of construction, the style, the architects’
names, and then whether or not it’s something
historical, the National Registry
for Historical Buildings. And then I put as much as
the history that I could find about the building
there as well, and then on the right side
is the full photograph of the structure. So it acts both as the
historical reference and a catalog of
these buildings. Some, as I said, are in bad
shape and need rehabilitation. But it was a labor of love. It took me five years, and we
traveled around at 25 states. And then we’d have to stay in
a town at least four days just so I could shoot buildings at
different times of the day. And one day it would rain, the next day the sun
would be out, you know. The usual thing, trying to catch
everything in its perfect light. So a labor of love it’s been.>>So how did you [inaudible]. I mean what was your approach? As you said, you went to
these five different states. So did you know already that
these buildings were there or did you discover them, or
how did you find out about them?>>Phil Pasquini: Well,
I did a lot of research. So, for example, I
went to Tennessee to photograph a number
of buildings. And I was driving back
to the hotel in Memphis. And I went, oh, my God, look. Here’s this beautiful Islamic
building I knew nothing about it. It’s now a law office, but it was an apartment
house I think originally. So somewhat serendipitous. The one I talked about with the
inventor of the soldering iron, we were walking down
the street in Rapid City and turned the corner,
and here’s this building. You know, it was almost maybe
divine intervention I was pulled to these buildings. So it was a combination of
both, of concerted effort and in a few instances
just happening upon things. Or someone would tell me, well,
if you like this building, you should see the one, you
know, five blocks over there. And I’d go and it would
either be an Islamic building or it could be a Russian
Orthodox church or something, you know, not connected. But it had some of the same
similar architectural details. And so that’s a good question
and it did evolve in some ways. Yes?>>So what was your
original inspiration? Did you go to Morocco first?>>Phil Pasquini: In
1970, I went to Morocco and it seemed very exotic to me. And only later did I find out that my mother’s family
had lived there 500 years in the year 1010 to
about 1121, or something. So that kind of pulled
me into it. But I always liked
Islamic styled things, because it seemed
so exotic to me. And as a kid growing
up in Sacramento, California where
there’s really nothing. And I went to El Hambra
Theater when I was a kid, and it was orientalist. And that totally, you
know, got my interest. I did the book, as I said
earlier, because I wanted to dispel the notion that
this call came about on 911, that Muslims arrived in
America with nefarious intents. And I wanted to contextualize
that history properly in the sense that
Muslims have been in America before it
was even a country. And we know that
historically on many levels. And there’s a wonderful book, and I can’t recollect
the title of it now. But in it, he talks about the
history of music and poetry and dance and design and many
things that have Islamic roots. Mathematics, for example, that
are not often credited properly and seem as a construct of
Western European invention, and we know that not to be true. It’s always interesting
when people are arguing about diversity, and
they pick up a newspaper and I think you’re reading
something in the Latin alphabet and you’re looking
at Arabic numerals. I don’t know how more
diverse that can be. So we kind of remove
ourselves from these things. Does that answer your question?>>It does.>>Phil Pasquini: Yes,
you had a question also. I’m sorry. Yes?>>Well, do you know
about the [inaudible], which was the Turkish Embassy?>>Phil Pasquini: Yes.>>About 20 years ago?>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah.>>And now they have
a different building, but that building serves
as the [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: Right.>>And not so much
outside of it.>>Phil Pasquini: Right.>>But it’s [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: I haven’t been
inside, but the exterior, yeah.>>A Turkish ambassador
lives there.>>Phil Pasquini: Right, right.>>So [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah.>>[Inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: I’ll get in
there one day and check it out.>>But that would be. My understanding,
that was built. That building was built by
an American who maybe lived in Istanbul or was very familiar
with the Islamic architecture.>>Phil Pasquini: Interesting.>>He was very inspired. And then he built
that building, house, mansion [inaudible] Circle. So it came up for sale, I
think, about maybe the ’30s, ’20s or ’30s of last century. So the Turkish [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini:
They bought it, yeah.>>Yeah, that’s the
story I [inaudible].>>Phil Pasquini: Interesting.>>That might be
of interest to you.>>Phil Pasquini: Yeah, I would.>>When you’re expanding
your research.>>Phil Pasquini: You know, someone asked me why
didn’t you do the interiors of the buildings. And I didn’t want to do a book
that was this thick, you know. But the interiors of many
of these buildings are so beautiful, and many
of them are thematic. And some of them are completely
incongruent with their exterior. They’ve just never built
anything, you know, really exotic on the inside. But there’s a lot of
wonderful buildings around. Anything?>>Can I also ask you?>>Phil Pasquini: Yes.>>Is it too late? Okay, I’ll ask. That’s okay.>>Joan Weeks: Thank you so
much for a fascinating lecture. [Applause]>>Phil Pasquini: Thank you.

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