Assessing the Building’s Developments on the Human Perception: The Case Study of Imam Al-Hussein Shrine in Karbala, Iraq
This paper investigates the implications of buildings’ developments of Imam Hussein Holy Shrine in Karbala, Iraq. It is questioning the space perception from within normal and expert human experience. The investigation spans a decade of reflections since the new shrine development accomplished. The ratio between mass and void have been changed significantly and thus led to alterations in viewing angles, inclusion, visual axis’s, orientation, movement, and human sense of scale. Those developments were encompassing, the addition of a new floor to the existing outer wall building, adding huge steel columns, covering the open-to-sky courtyard of the shrine, and extending the old boundaries of the shrine outwardly 10 meters using arched floors.The purpose is to tackle the current problem of how the shrine’s developments have affected the space perception, hierarchical order of space, and the induced new sensual spatial activities, such as eating, sleeping, and gathering. This paper therefore aims to address the current question of how the shrine’s developments have changed the individual’s experience in perceiving the inner spaces and other building’s components. It was hypothesized that an analysis of the perception of Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain's developments can provide clear answers of the urban changes, which were occurred. The findings showed that the space inclusion has increased while the viewing angles, visual axis’s, continuous movement, and human scale have reduced. Further work will include the influences of the socio-economic and environmental factors in relation to the existing spaces and activities in the analysis and compare the findings with other similar shrine cases, like the Holy Shrine of Imam Al-Abbas.