Central Mosque of Pristina Competition Entry / Victoria Stotskaia, Raof Abdelnabi, Kamel Loqman

Courtesy of

The idea behind the design by Invert Studios (Victoria Stotskaia, Raof Abdelnabi, Kamel Loqman) for the Central Mosque of started with a very simple question:How can we can design a building that should play in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood, integrated with the urbanity, and for a very powerful reason want to stand out as a futuristic icon for the city? By proposing a design that is not conventional and common, and in an effort to change the way the public perceives mosques external shapes, they created an example of a world class building that reflects the Islamic Architectural Heritage. At the same time, this building stands out with a high technology character. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Invert Studios

The Muslim community of the city of Pristina finds itself in a hard situation due to the lack of praying space and the disproportional mosque coverage between the old and the new part of the city. This situation is a consequence of the city growth during the socialist period where the sacral buildings were not a part of the urban planning agenda.

Courtesy of Invert Studios

Mosques in Pristina are mainly located in the old (northern) part of the city and most of them remain from the Ottoman Period. Those are small masjids that have been planned for the neighborhood needs and a bigger one for the Friday prayers,. They are old and have cultural heritage values. Except of some new built mosques, the overall prayer space consists of the old ones which are actively being used by the city’s Muslim community. The deficient prayer space has resulted in a trend of building extensions to the existing mosques with the community’s intension to gain more space and even using the public spaces near them especially for the Friday prayers.

Courtesy of Invert Studios

Hence, considering these growing urgent necessities of the Muslim community in Pristina, the Islamic Community of the Republic of Kosovo submitted a request to the Assembly of the Municipality of Pristina for an appropriate location for building a Central Mosque in city in order to fulfill the community’s needs. The difficulties finding an appropriate location have been due to the fact of previous urban planning of the city.

Courtesy of Invert Studios

After the definition of the location from the Municipality of Pristina, the Islamic Community of the Republic of Kosovo emphasizing the importance of this Mosque as the Central one in the city took the decision of designing it through an International Competition. The consideration of building this Mosque as one with extraordinary importance to the Muslim Community of Kosovo, should serve as a crucial guide in the design process.

site plan

We looked at the Ottoman architectural elements, and simply we merged the  two  big elements that can make any building a mosque like shape, the Minarets and the Dome. we thought that if we can take the dome shape and merge it with the minaret and integrate the tower, where the most of activities will take place , and have a presence of this tower to the main road, we will be adding an iconic design for the Islamic Culture Center that will easily tie in with the urbanity of the site, and will interact with different directions of approaching points to it, from the main high road and the back lower road.

plan 01

As the building is laid on the site with that specific angle, oriented to Mecca, that gives people passing in the street a very unique experience of how they will perceive the design from different angle, where they will always see the two different outstanding skins, the solid facing North, and the sofe transparent skin facing South.

plan 02

A major factor in the design was the movement of masses of population coming to the location of the project from different directions and levels. One main direction is expected to come from the west side of the site, shown in yellow arrow in the graphic, coming from the residential neighborhood. The other stream of people is expected to come from the main road, shown in orange arrow in the graphic, taking people to different activities happing on top of the prayer hall, in what we call the “glass tower”. We believe, the design team, that this will achieve the most efficient and simple circulation between the different activities and functions of the such a big cultural center, and making sure that all the spaces will play in harmony with the urbanity of the site.

plan 03

The public spaces has been stacked facing the main road and South. the facade has double skin, the external is ETEF cushions, and the inner one is glassing. By doing that, we achieved the idea of the green house, where the heat of the Sun and captured between the to skins, which will radiate into the spaces during the day.

Architects: Invert Studios
Location: PRISHTINA, Kosovo
Design Team: Victora istotskya,Raof Abdelnby,Kamel Loqman
Area: 8103.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Invert Studios

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Central Mosque of Pristina Competition Entry / Victoria Stotskaia, Raof Abdelnabi, Kamel Loqman" 04 May 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=366459>

8 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Well, I thik that the concept involving the derwish spinning is very inapropriate for the Prishtina central mosque because we are a majority of sunni muslims peace :)

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      the concept is not for the Dervish Ideologically but only for the the incredible abstract curves came from the drwish motion which the are Symbol for Moslem community whatever them Ideology, like other symbols such as minarets or domes or crescent .. :)

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the psychedelic motion/pulse of the dervish is the idea behind the design, representing the vertical connection with the sky

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the psychedelic motion/pulse of the dervish is the idea behind the design, representing the vertical connection between Muslims and the Above, the sky

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    You can’t make architecture out of any kind of idea. Architecture is possible only with architectural ideas. Now what is architectural idea, most of the practices ignore. Making a mosque out of the spinning dervish idea is as stupid as a mountain. You can make nice images and charm the audience. But you will not make good architecture this way.
    Inverted studios have not understood anything about mosque architecture. Do they know whats the dome in the mosque? How can they stock the overall program above the praying hall?
    Its basic thing: The mosque is one space because all the people inside are equal. Its covered with one dome because Allah is one. Dome because technically during centuries islamic builders used brick.
    But the most important thing in islamic architecture ( in every Architecture I’d say) it’s the space itself. Mihrab the real symbol of this architecture, as Italo Calvino said ” it’s an empty space, it’s nothing, it’s something which isn’t there…”
    It’s as simple as that. No hidden meanings. Just space and order.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    dear Pacarizi, I would say that your way is very offensive and missing a lot of politeness. I always like to hear comments and i am used to have people disagree with me. but I feel that you just want to prove your self right and make other people wrong. such a rude way is not, and will never be constructive. I respect that you did not like the building, but this kind of funny conspiracy thinking that making charming images will charm the audience and will never make good architecture … this is really funny buddy. I would say that you need to grow up.
    one more thing i would like to say, that you really need to read more about the history of domes and the reason behind it. again this ” one dome” theory is very shallow. as far as i know, this very first mashed has been built for Muslims , during days of props. Mohamed (pbuh) had no dome and no minarets. I really would advice you to read more.
    I agree with you that the idea behind the dervish might be little bit strange, but this is how we, the design team, felt it. you might like it, you might not. but this is Architecture. I think it has to be always controversial.
    I would thank you for taking time to look at the project, and than you for your opinion.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Dear Abdelnabi,
    I’m sorry for being rude. Its true my critic was harsh. I should have used other words.
    I didn’t want to offense you. I accept your advice for reading more.
    But I still stand behind the meaning of my critic. Your proposal looks superficial and doesn’t really enters the center of the problem. You wanted the Icon for Prishtina and the rest looks just like an excuse. Your proposal didn’t show that you care about the nature of the mosque.
    I give you an example: Kahn’s mosque in Dhaka Parliament has no dome and no towers but is still unique and central space. It doesn’t have functions on top, no library, no apartment, no toilets above like your proposal. It’s roof is thin separation between the sky and the praying space, bathed with light. Now this is what I would call nature of the mosque. Kahn started with the space concerns and he found answer in space solution.
    Wish you all my best.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    dear Pacarizi,
    thank you for the advice and opinion, i really appreciate and value that. i looked at the example and i think i know what you mean now. i will take in consideration your advice in my future mosques.
    best regards.

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