Downtown

Ohio Theatre Tour: Islamic Architecture

During my tour of the Ohio Theatre a couple of weeks ago, I learned that the Ohio Theatre, designed and built by architect, Thomas Lamb, was built in the Spanish Baroque style.  (Palace Theatre was French, Ohio Theatre was Spanish – very multi-cultural).  Our docent went on to explain that that style was heavily influenced by Islamic art because not only were many of the workers in Spain Moorish themselves, but Moors played a large role in designing and building much of the architecture seen all around the Iberian Peninsula, i.e. Spain and Portugal.

A couple of years ago, I traveled to Spain and Morocco.  During my trip, I spent a few days in Granada and had the great fortune of visiting the Alhambra which houses the Palacios Nazaries, or Nasrid Palace. While the Ohio Theatre seems like child’s play in comparison to the overall size and amazingly intricate work within the Nasrid Palace, there are definite similarities in the styles.  Take a look.

This picture is at the top level within the Ohio Theatre – the lounge area behind the rear balcony.  I’d like to draw your attention to the archway on the left.  Notice the rounded corners as well as the point at the top?  It’s beautiful, don’t you think?

Islamic Architecture

Here it is again.  To my left, is the door that takes patrons to their seats up in the balcony.  Take a look again at the details within the corners as well as the pointed sections in the top.  The very top of this is obscured by one of the lamps, but it’s there.

IMG_0617Now take a look at the general shape of this archway of the Nasrid Palace that leads out to one of the courtyards.  Do you see the similarities?  It has the same rounded corners as well as the point at the top.  Clearly I’m not an architect, so I’m unable to give you actual – and technical – architectural terms, but though our theatre’s archway is a bit flatter at the top (though overall the archway below is definitely much larger), they both contain the same basic elements.

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This next picture is of an artistic element located to the right of the door that leads patrons to their seats in the rear balcony.  This is another example of a well-defined, Islamic arch.  You can see the rounded corner with the curves that lead up to a pointed top.  It also contains some additional decorative touches around the arch itself.

Islamic Architecture

Now look at this beautiful wall niche within the Nasrid Palace.  This kind of detail can never be matched because nobody makes this kind of building any more.  They just don’t, but the same general shape that we see above in the Ohio Theatre is the same as what is seen here.  Pretty cool, huh?

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that Ohio Theatre architect, Thomas Lamb, definitely knew what he was doing.  There are plenty of other similarities as well: the decor inside, the wood work, the ceilings, etc. It’s absolutely beautiful, our Ohio Theatre, so don’t pass up an opportunity to see a concert and check it out for yourself.

Of course, if you ever get the opportunity to see the original – the Nasrid Palace within the Alhambra – you shouldn’t pass that up either!

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