Friday, May 3, 2013

Algorithm Rhythm

Arches and Domes, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE
© Doug Hickok  All Rights Reserved

Imagine the algorithms that were needed to calculate the design of this perfectly coordinated rhythm of archways and domes at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Whatever mathematical equations were used for the engineering, the beautifully aligned patterns of curves make a high visual impact on the viewer.

The Grand Mosque is one of the largest in the world, and can hold up to 41,000 worshipers at one time. It is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father and first president of the UAE, and driving force behind the mosque's creation.

Also, you might be pleased to know the English word algorithm drives from the Arabic al-khwarizmi. Khwarizmi was an influential mathematician and scholar of the 9th century who introduced the concepts of algebra to the western world.


  1. 41,000 worshippers??? That blows my mind, Doug! So does the algebra. HA! Fabulous image of this immense place.

  2. I can see that you positioned yourself just in the right spot for this composition Doug. Perfect symmetry of a dome within an arch within a dome within an arch. All is right with the world.

  3. Imagine the algorithms needed in your lens to make it look so aligned...
    Credit to the photographer too, of course...

  4. art is surprisingly close to math...

  5. Ops,not good in Math, that's the reason I studied Fine Arts at University! :)
    Very interesting post dear Doug,
    And one more time I'm enchanted by your fabulous picture!

  6. (Archway x Dome) 2
    --------------- + Rhythm + 41,000 =

    How do you solve a problem like this? ;o)

    Ans: Fun+tastic+shot

  7. Arches are one of my all time favourite shapes Doug, this has got to be the ultimate arch shot..more than spectacular. Have just marveled at all the images in the Dubai series, the 'Zenith' view made my acrophobic stomach lurch :)

  8. i like how YOU aligned all these arches and doorways and domes !!!
    it takes a very ingenious architect to design this, that's true, but it takes an equally ingenious photographer to come up with a perfect image like this!
    chapeau, monsieur !!! (and that's french, not arabic ... sorry ;-)

  9. Stunning shot, Doug!
    Looks like an illustration from an artistic edition of the ‘Arabian Nights’. To see this in person must be breath-taking and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  10. Pure harmony.
    And the photographer, knew how to take advantage of the place.

  11. Yes, what an intricate design -- and how beautifully you've captured it here, Doug. Interesting about the the word "algorithm". I'd never though about it in English, but in Spanish, there are many words beginning with "al" that come from Arabic, such as algodón, meaning cotton.

  12. Amazingly beautiful--what an engineering design and artistic feat!

  13. I can't help but think that the architect of this building was a photographer at heart and designed and lit it to maximise the potential for good photographs!

    But that's not fair - it takes an astute eye to realise that potential as you have done here. Superb.

  14. Yes, this is SUPERB!Fantastic architecture, and a fantastic photographer!

  15. Interesting facts and a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l image.

  16. awesome sense of geometric scene, great photographer eye

  17. this sure is impressive, love the crispness & colors!

  18. Great picture and clever title. The muslim architecture is so beautiful, harmonius.
    Have a nice day.


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