عنوان مقاله [English]
“Center” has been among the frequently discussed issues in architectural studies. In the field of architecture, thinkers like Christian Norberg-Shults, Rudolf Arnhiem and Christopher Alexander have founded their theories on this concept while their understanding of it differs greatly. Surveying these theories, this research seeks to propose a more comprehensive understanding of center. The basic question is to determine how different kinds of centers influence each other, which, in its turn, leads to the consolidation and unification of a work. To provide an answer to this question, different theories of center are investigated, categorized, and explained. The categories include real, essential, sense-making, functional, and physical (artificial and natural) centers. Different types of centers are interrelated and create architectural consistency and wholeness according to certain unifying principles. Hierarchy, convergence, order, balance, and unity of centers constitute these principles. Balance and unity are principles of higher order, while hierarchy, convergence and order can be considered as their subordinates. Moreover, they can all be considered as different aspects of the same principle, namely the unity of center. The concurrence of all these principles will lead to perfection in any piece of art. An architect must totally internalize these principles in order for them to be manifested in his works. Postulating that Iranian-Islamic architecture is founded upon the basic principles of existence, this article contributes to a novel understanding of Islamic architecture through revealing an aspect of universal order.