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The Architecture of Maldives

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Merich Barlas

on 26 September 2016

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Transcript of The Architecture of Maldives

The Architecture of Maldives
The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs.
Most traditional Maldivian art is influenced by Perso-Arabic tradition in some form and usually centres on Islam, since almost all the Maldivians are Muslims.
History of Maldivian Architecture
Records of Medieval Visitors
Traditional Lineal Measures
Basic House
Significant Buildings
Modern Buildings
Maldives takes account of the islands’ climate, the meager resources available and the islands’ close relationship to the sea (virtually no point in the Maldives is more than 500 metres away from the sea or two metres above the water table).
Buildings, therefore, made extensive use of indigenous material. Architectural principles and practices were green and sustainable. In fact, until about 1800, almost all the buildings were made from what is available, coral stone and plant material.
The houses were built on rows of low coral stone walls three to four and half feet long above the ground for protection from damp.
Coconut palm beams (joists of vakaru) span the rows of coral stone foundation walls to which flooring boards must have been fixed. The walls above the floor were built out of wood.
In terms of layout of homes, there is a maalam (nowadays translated as hall). The front portico or vestibule was a covered space leading to the main house. There are two entry ways to the portico, one at front possibly facing the street and the other on the side.
Medieval Records
A temporary elaborate and decorated shelter built for the king when he visited cenotaphs and tombs at certain times of the year. The shelter is about 15 riyan by 10 riyan.
Any shelter built for a temporary purpose in suitable sizes for a particular need. For example, boats are built in haruge; and mauloodh are recited in haruge.
A temporary shelter built for moon sighting on the western side of an island just before the beginning and end of ramazan. The moon sighters (seekers) eat and drink in the shelter until the sighting is finished.
was used mainly for storage in the Maldives. In the second World War, the huts were also used for living quarters, mess and hospitals. War time tropical boanuge had a raised area at the top though this type was not seen in the Maldives.
Faalan (hiyaakuri)
A sheltered jetty. Most islands have them.
is a sheltered and raised room or platform on which womenfolk stand to watch street events. The kulhibalaage can be the top storey of a two-storey structure.
a gathering place for the district (ward) public.
is a store for grains (granary) or other goods. They are sometimes raised from the ground. The doorway is shut by inserting a number of slats into grooves of the door jambs. Only the topmost slat is locked.
The Basic House
“A typical traditional house in the Maldives is built with thatched coconut or palm branches forming the roof of the house which is called Bodruge…It is now very rare to find a house with the badhige (kitchen) as a separate annexure to the dwelling, and the huge gifili (open-air toilet) also sperate from the main dwelling.”
Sunni Islam is the state religion of Maldives. On the inhabited islands, the miski, or mosque, forms the central place where Islam is practiced. Most mosques are whitewashed buildings constructed of coral stone with corrugated iron or thatched roofs.
The Islamic Centre (officially named Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam) is an architectural landmark in Malé, Maldives opened in November 1984 by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The Grand Friday Mosque located in the centre, is named after the one of the most celebrated Maldivian hero Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam of the Maldives. The mosque is also the largest in the Maldives, and also one of the largest in South Asia.

The centre also serves a conference hall where official meetings and ceremonies are held, an Islamic library and a number of offices.The shining golden dome of the mosque is a standout as are also the interior walls decorated with beautiful woodcarvings and Arabic calligraphy.

The Malé Friday Mosque or the Malé Hukuru Miskiy is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city of Malé, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. Coral boulders of the genus Porites are the basic materials used for construction of this and other mosques in the country because of its suitability. Although the coral is soft and easily cut to size when wet, it makes sturdy building blocks when dry.The mosque was added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage cultural list in 2008 as unique examples of sea-culture architecture.
Mosque of Hulhumalé
Mosque in Veligandu
Significant Buildings
This small palace was the childhood home of Malidivian national hero Mohammed Thakurufaanu. Visitors are escorted around the complex of buildings by a member of staff from the museum and are able to see the fascinating 500-year-old wooden interiors, including swing beds (used to keep cool in the heat), lamps that burn coco palm oil, elaborate wooden carvings and a large palm-thatch shed used as a sleeping room for guests.

Utheemu Ganduvaru
National Museum of Maldives
The three-storied museum (old building) is located in the Sultan Park in Malé, which is part of the site of the Maldivian Royal Palace compound dating back to the 17th century. The two-storey Us-gēkolhu is the only remaining structure of the palace demolished by fire in 1968.
The new building of the museum is also located in Sultan Park. The building was designed, built and financed by the Chinese government. The building was presented to the Maldives by the Chinese government on 10 July 2010, but was officially opened and declared as the national museum two weeks later on Maldives' Independence Day, 26 July 2010.
National Museum
The site of the former presidential palace of Maldives. Theemuge is named after the dynasty of some of the first Muslim rulers of the Maldives from the late Lunar Dynasty (1141 to 1388).The palace hosted numerous receptions on special occasions, including opening up to guests to greet the president every eid.
Gemmiskiy is a historical site in Fuvahmulah, Maldives. It is located in the district of Dhadimago at the northern end of the island. It consists of a neat compound including a coral stone mosque, an ancient graveyard and a well. Gemmiskiy is said to be the oldest mosque in Fuvammulah.
Muliaage was the 'Official Residence of the President of the Maldives'. Muliaage is located at the historic centre of Malé in close proximity of the Medhu Ziyaarai, the Friday Mosque, and the Munnaru (Grand Minaret of Malé).
Masjid-al-Yoosuf is a mosque in Eydhafushi, Maldives opened in the 1970s, accommodating more than 210 worshippers. The mosque is named after Yoosuf Kaleyfaanu. It is located near the main jetty of Eydhafushi.
Masjid Al Yoosuf
Modern Buildings
Equatorial Convention Centre
Equatorial Convention Centre (ECC) is a convention centre which is located in Hithadhoo, Addu City of Maldives. It was specially build for the seventeenth SAARC summit which was held in November 2011 in Addu City and nearby Fuvahmulah island.ECC was formally opened by the President of the Maldives H.E Mohamed Nasheed on November 10, 2011.
In contrast to the other buildings on the island, which are in the traditional ‘Tavaru’ style, the present structure, due to its height of 23 metres and specific construction, dominates the island. Instead of traditional natural materials, reinforced concrete monolith was used on the face of the building; it serves as a bearing tube, around which a console staircase made of individual prefab steps is spiralling.
Tavaru Restaurant & Bar

Velaa Private Island, Noonu Atoll, Maldives

The Maldives’ first entirely solar powered five-star resort is now open to guests.It’s been determined that 67,000 sq ft. of solar panels, with a storage battery generating 1 mega watt on an average sunny day, is sufficient to serve 100 guests and 100 staff occupying the resort at any time. The solar panels are visible to the guests throughout the island and are integrated into all aspects of the resort’s design as an architectural embellishment.
Finolhu Villas
Maldives Foreign Ministry Building
.The building was designed and constructed by the Chinese Government in September 2005 as a contribution from the Chinese Government. The building is designed in a way to reduce the need for electric lighting during the day and to be an attractive structure, rather than monumental, which would blend elegantly into its highly developed surroundings.
This is the tallest building in the Maldives having 15 storey office complex. It is holds most of the government administrative offices and services would be easily given to customers from one single location. The place as is completed and opened on 2011.
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