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Mosque: The Latest Architecture and News

Architecture Classic: al-Nouri Mosque / Nur ad-Din Zangi

Islamic architecture has been perhaps one of the most culturally significant typologies throughout history. Not only do the buildings themselves serve as centers for community and social services, but their designs reflect Muslim beliefs and morals, and reveal the rich history of nations in the Middle East.

Minaret. East View in 1930s. Image © World Monuments Fund CollectionMan seated before the Mihrab in the prayer hall, after reconstruction in 1944. Image © General Authority of AntiquitiesDestroyed Post-War Mosque. Image © UNESCO3D Model of Mosque Today. Image © UNESCO+ 19

A Psychiatric Hospital and an Alternative Public Workspace: 10 Unbuilt Projects Submitted by our Readers

Focusing on competition entries, this week’s curated selection of the best-unbuilt architecture from our readers' submissions, highlights projects from across the globe, presented part of international contests. Some are winners, some are not but all of the featured schemes have an intriguing conceptual approach, and a different story to tell.

Tackling diverse programming, the entries include an urban public housing proposal in South Korea, the Dianju Village Library in China and a new Future-Oriented Neighborhood in Finland combining urban and sustainable living. Moreover, the article showcases rare and unconventional functions like a hospital for psychiatry & neurological diseases in Turkey and an intervention on a famed Oscar Niemeyer site.

WAFAI Architecture and Fragomeli+Partners Design an Islamic Cultural Center in Piedmont, Italy

Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partners, two architecture practices based in Torino, Italy have imagined an Islamic cultural center in the Piedmont area. The project features a mosque and a center for cultural and social activities, a space that promotes constructive dialogues.

Courtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partners+ 7

Safdie Architects Propose Conceptual Design for the Abrahamic Family House

Safdie Architects’ entry for the Abrahamic Family House competition located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, in Abu Dhabi, brings together a mosque, a synagogue, and a church within a shared public park.

© hiresjpg© hiresjpg© hiresjpg© hiresjpg+ 8

Adjaye Associates Selected to Design the Human Fraternity Project in Abu Dhabi

Adjaye Associates have been selected as the winners of The Abrahamic Family House competition, in Abu Dhabi. The landmark project, on Saadiyat Island, is a space where 3 religions will come together with the implementation of a mosque, a synagogue, and a church.

© Adjaye Associates© Adjaye Associates© Adjaye Associates© Adjaye Associates+ 11

Turkish Office Redefines Typical Mosque Design

In all religions, prayer halls and religious buildings aim to separate the visitor from the chaos of daily life and provide serenity and peace, even for the brief moment in time when visitors are performing their prayers. In the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa, BeOffice Architects designed a circular, unbound mosque with a focus on nature, tranquility, and accessibility.

© BeOffice Architecture© BeOffice Architecture© BeOffice Architecture© BeOffice Architecture+ 22

The Great Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo: from Historic Islamic Monument to War Battlefield

via AFP / Getty Images
via AFP / Getty Images

Islam, other than describing a religious belief, is a word that identifies a unique type of architecture that dates back thousands of years. It has been formed by a civilization that transformed the qualities of this belief into visible and tangible material, building structures with a striking focus on details and experiences within enclosed spaces. 

Islamic architecture is an architecture that does not change its form easily. In fact, its principles have been more or less the same since thousands of years ago, with minor changes based on functional adaptations. To this day, hundreds of buildings still stand as a representation of the history of Islamic architecture and are still used just as they have been in the past.

War, however, has no religion or cultural nostalgia, and even the holiest, most historically-significant sites are threatened with complete destruction. The Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, originally built by the first imperial Islamic dynasty and currently situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stood yet again as a battlefield during the recent Syrian War, but this time, lost its most significant and resilient element, an 11th-century Seljuk Minaret.

© George Ourfalian / AFPCourtesy of Wikimedia CommonsCourtesy of SSNP Media WarsCourtesy of SSNP Media Wars+ 34

Saffar Studio Seeks to Redefine the Iranian Mosque Typology

Saffar Studio has released details of their proposed Golshahr Mosque and Plaza in Alborz, Iran. Inspired by a dialogue between context and function, the scheme is driven by a desire to increase sociability and the interactions between people in a sustainable platform.

© Saffar Studio© Saffar Studio© Saffar Studio© Saffar Studio+ 14

Fundamental Approach Architects Win First Prize for Unconventional Mosque and Plaza Design

© Fundamental Approach Architects / FAA© Fundamental Approach Architects / FAA© Fundamental Approach Architects / FAA© Fundamental Approach Architects / FAA+ 16

Persian architecture studio Fundamental Approach Architects have won first prize in the Golshahr Mosque and Plaza National Design Competition in Iran, proposing an atypical mosque design for the city of Karaj.

The winning proposal bypasses traditional mosque designs, blurring the lines between the contemporary structure, the city, and the surrounding landscape.

Basuna Mosque / Dar Arafa Architecture

© Essam Arafa
© Essam Arafa
Basunah, Egypt

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Catches Fire During Notre Dame Blaze

While French firefighters were putting out the destructive blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral, another holistic site was also up in flames. Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is among the holiest sites in Islam and was built almost 1,300 years ago, was struck by blaze while the monumental Catholic Church was also devastated with fire.

The fire is said to have started in the Al-Marwani Prayer Hall - also known as Solomon's Stables - part of the same compound as Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Fortunately, firemen of the Islamic Waqf department of the city were able to control the fire before any harm was done to the individuals or the other prayer halls. While the cause remains unknown, sources claim that the fire could have been ignited accidentally by children who were near the prayer hall at the time.

NUDES Designs a Mosque of Light for Dubai

Mumbai-based NUDES architecture office have revealed a new design called "Mosque of Light" as their entry in the Dubai Creek Harbor competition. The project was designed as a play in light with a multi-layered geometrical form to filter daylight softly into the prayer hall. The mosque explores the combination of light and built form around a spiritual experience.

Mosque of Light. Image Courtesy of NUDESMosque of Light. Image Courtesy of NUDESMosque of Light. Image Courtesy of NUDESMosque of Light. Image Courtesy of NUDES+ 7

Mosque of the Future: Library of Alexandria Seminar - July 2018

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Courtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture
Courtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture

The architecture of the future mosque was the subject of a special seminar organized by the “Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture” (AFAMA) and the “Library of Alexandria” last Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 in Alexandria, Egypt.

In addition to announcing the ongoing mosque nomination process for the AFAMA that will end in September 2018, the general secretariat presented the objectives of the award, and the three principal scientific projects of AFAMA: “the “Mosqupedia,” “AFAMA portal and database,” and “the award.” The seminar tackled different architectural issues about mosques of the future, from the architectural concept to architectural styles and typologies, and architectural decorations to techniques.

The Award for Future Mosque

Courtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture
Courtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture

The Architectural Awards are very important for the architectural industry, and for innovative architectural design in general, and as an organization responsible for global architectural awarding, "Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture" believes that this award will lead to unexpected change in the architectural design of mosques and will end the developed conceptuality of mosques. However, because it is relatively new, both intellectuals and practitioners are still uncertain about the aims of this award either because of being targeting mosques or because of the process of reviewing those nominated designs. So, "Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture – AFAMA" is currently working on decreasing the percentage of this "uncertainty" by clearly defining aims and requirements of this award, and this is what AFAMA is planning to achieve within the upcoming 3rd cycle (2017-2020).

Courtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque ArchitectureCourtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque ArchitectureCourtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque ArchitectureCourtesy of Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture+ 11

Contemporary Religious Architecture That Rethinks Traditional Spaces for Worship

© Fabrice Fouillet
© Fabrice Fouillet

Constructing places of worship has always been an intricate practice, managing to detach the human, and release the boundary between body, mind, and spirit. Holy presence has been crucial in designing and constructing sacred places, which is why almost all religious building possessed similar characteristics: grandiosity, monolithic material, natural elements, and a plan that compliments an individual’s circulation through the space. Contemporary religious structures, however, found a way to adapt to the evolution of architecture. Unlike the Gothic or Baroque periods, modern-day architecture does not have a dominant identity. It is, in fact, a combination of postmodernism, futurism, minimalism, and everything in between. Architects have found a way to transform these exclusive, religion-devoted places into structures of spirituality, manifestation, and fascination.

Here is a selection of contemporary religious buildings that prove once again that architects are breaking all boundaries of creativity.

© Adam LetchCourtesy of S.M.A.O© Ahmad MirzaeeCourtesy of Kojii Fuji / Nacasa & Partners Inc.+ 24

Emre Arolat Architecture Reveals Design for Nora Mosque Near Dubai

Nora Mosque and Community Center from EAA Emre Arolat Architecture on Vimeo.

Emre Arolat Architecture has unveiled their design for the Nora Mosque and Community Center in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates. The 10,000 square meter site located just north of Dubai, is located near a massive high rise residence block. However, it creates its own unique ambiance and spatial setting with a composition of shell-like platforms that spring from the earth.

Courtesy of Emre Arolat ArchitectureCourtesy of Emre Arolat ArchitectureCourtesy of Emre Arolat ArchitectureCourtesy of Emre Arolat Architecture+ 26

X-Architects' to Design an Urban Mosque That Forms the "Heart of the Neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi

The Dubai-based firm, X-Architects, have found inspiration in the cultural and architectural heritage of Islam for their new design. The Revelation Mosque, a +2500 square meter project, aims to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In creating a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another.

Courtesy of X-ArchitectsCourtesy of X-ArchitectsCourtesy of X-ArchitectsCourtesy of X-Architects+ 16