Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Dr. M. Carlos Barrios Kleiss, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Akel I. Kahera

Committee Member

Dr. Cliff Ellis

Committee Member

Joseph Choma


This dissertation examines the morphology of Islamic Geometric Patterns (IGP). Using mixed methods, including the simulation of historical designs and content analysis, this dissertation explores the question of how it is possible to mathematically describe the IGP. The study argues that the compositional analysis of geometry is not solely sufficient to investigate the design characteristics of the IGP, and the underlying mathematics and computational nature of the IGP should be considered when investigating historical IGP.

The study presents a parametric description method that captures the reality of the IGP in numeric form and utilizes the form to derive representational codes that include the information necessary to construct a geometry. The representational codes are utilized to further investigate the actual and virtual design space of the IGP, aiming at identifying morphological similarities between historical designs.

This research challenges the long-standing paradigm that considers compositional analysis to be the key to researching historical IGP. Adopting a mathematical description shows that the historical focus on existing forms has left the relevant structural similarities between historical IGPs understudied.

The research focused on the historical, hexagonal-based IGP and found that hexagonal-based IGP designs correlate to each other beyond just the actualized dimension and that deep, morphological connections exist in the virtual dimension. Using historical evidence, this dissertation identifies these connections and presents a categorization system that groups designs together based on their ‘morphogenetic’ characteristics.



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