Minoru Yamasaki

Minoru Yamasaki

“The World Trade Center’s architect, Minoru Yamasaki …merged modernism with Islamic influences.”
—Laurie Kerr, Slate

World Trade Center

© Greg Holmes

“At the base of the towers, Yamasaki used implied pointed arches—derived from the characteristically pointed arches of Islam—as a transition between the wide column spacing below and the dense structural mesh above. (Europe imported pointed arches from Islam during the Middle Ages, and so non-Muslims have come to think of them as innovations of the Gothic period.) Above soared the pure geometry of the towers, swathed in a shimmering skin, which doubled as a structural web—a giant truss. Here Yamasaki was following the Islamic tradition of wrapping a powerful geometric form in a dense filigree, as in the inlaid marble pattern work of the Taj Mahal or the ornate carvings of the courtyard and domes of the Alhambra… A number of designers from the Middle East [described] the entire façade as a giant ‘mashrabiya,’ the tracery that fills the windows of mosques.”
Laurie Kerr, “The Mosque to Commerce,” Slate, 2001