- Lead Architect And Founder: Sumaya Dabbagh
- Design Team: Sandrine Quoilin, Aleks Zigalovs, Hana Younes, William Java
- City: Dubai
- Country: United Arab Emirates
Text description provided by the architects. Dabbagh Architects lead by its Founder, Sumaya Dabbagh, completes the Mosque of the Late Mohamed Abdulkhaliq Gargash (Dubai, UAE), a contemporary place of worship that is quietly masterful in its use of form, materiality, and controlled natural light to evoke a sense of calm and spiritual connection and transition the worshipper from the outer material world to inner sense of being. The mosque is one of the first in the UAE to be designed by a female architect.
As a gift to the community and in honor of the late patriarch of the family, Mohamed Abdulkhaliq Gargash, the Gargash family’s brief was to create a minimal contemporary mosque, a calm and spiritual space for prayer, for the community of the Al Quoz, the industrial heart of Dubai.
At the heart of the design, the approach is the enhancement of the act of worship and a transitional journey throughout the building so that the worshipper is ready for prayer and feels a sense of intimacy with the sacred. “Creating a space of worship was a very particular design challenge. Prayer is a devotional act. It requires the worshipper to be totally present. With all the distractions in our modern busy lives it can be challenging to quieten the mind and find an inner calm to allow for full immersion into prayer,” says Sumaya. “Through the design, a series of spaces are created that allow the worshipper to transition from the busy outer world and prepare for an inner experience.”
Natural light is used as a tool to enhance a feeling of spirituality, the connection between the earthly and the divine, and to mark the worshipper’s journey through the building. Scale also plays a role in creating this sense of sacredness. Dabbagh Architects sought to avoid multiple blocks, simplifying the traditional typology of the Islamic form and stripping it away to its essence. The use of pattern and materiality in this project enhances the user’s experience as they journey from the outside into the courtyard and enter the building. Throughout the building is a triangular pattern, a reference to traditional Islamic geometry but reinterpreted in a deconstructed contemporary language.
The exterior paneling uses this triangulated pattern in recessed and perforated elements, which gives the building’s skin a dynamic appearance. Internally, these perforations scatter natural light into the areas of worship with great control and care to illuminate the key spaces and create a calm atmosphere and sense of connection to the divine, as well as helping to cool the mosque’s interior. The double skin dome allows natural light to enter, filtering it through the internal decorative skin, which incorporates the same triangulated pattern. This filtered light creates a soft naturally-lit prayer space tailoring to the introspective mind during prayer.
Calligraphy plays an important part in the overall design too. A Surah (verse from the Quran) wraps around the prayer hall externally to create a metaphoric protective band signaling the spiritual nature of the space upon arrival and instilling sacred energy throughout the building.