The heritage of Islamic architecture is exemplified in the design of mosques throughout history.
Spatial irregularities, tensions and conflicts have never been better explored than through the geometrical innovations of Muslim architects. These innovations are shown most explicitly when the given site and its surrounding area are out of alignment with the direction towards Mecca. In such cases, the architects have needed to creatively design the interior so as to gradually orient the visitor towards the prayer hall.
The tensions created by such rotations, were internalized through geometrical solutions. Such efforts reveal the importance of preserving the spatial order of the prayer hall, made possible by High sensitivity to symmetry and precision. Meanwhile the tensions are absorbed into the wall masses, corridors, and other secondary spaces.
Such mediating spaces have been used to direct the visitors from the grid of the Islamic city into the prayer hall, While orienting them towards Mecca in a tactful yet subtle way.
the new mosque
Mosque of Qarmanli - Tarabulus, Libya
The mediating space is the hallway between the entrance corridor and prayer hall, It provides a gradual rotation in 3 angles, while keeping the entrance on the central axis of the prayer hall.
Madrasa and Mausoleum of Sultan Qalwun - Cairo, Egypt
The mediator is the central corridor between the two prayer halls. Notice the gradual enlargement of perimeter columns.
the new mosque
The design of the new mosque is to use the traditional elements of Islamic architecture as individual fragments, to study them in new relations , to use old vocabulary in a new invented grammar and to bring new spatial qualities out of recognized forms.
Amir Khayrbak Funerary Complex - Cairo, Egypt
The Exterior wall (on the south) is the mediator between the exterior Facade and the prayer hall.
Imam Mosque – Isfahan, Iran
In this plan, the angle between the mosque and the axis of the square on the right, creates a mediating space, that is no longer secondary. It is an autonomous piece of architecture, with its own internal complexities, providing access by the two corridors on either side
design after referentiality
Approaching a traditional design, one encounters a problem, as choosing to go back to tradition is not a traditional act itself. As soon as it becomes a choice, it has become nontraditional.
While symmetry, hierarchy, and centrality have been key in the defining of divine space, today they are considered as neither part of an architectural consensus nor as laws sent down from heaven.
By the disappearance of the center in our time, of the absolute reference, the question is what will emerge in their place? science and technology as new reference points - more specifically, ecology and energy efficiency, have been general substitutes.
Still, in the complexity of designing a mosque one cannot escape confronting historicity and reference.
most of the efforts in designing mosques in recent years have been based on either the total rejection of the historical design, or upon the replacement of known elements with contemporary formal substitutes. However, the traditional architecture of the mosque remains the most successful prototype.
The ultimate effect of such rotating and twisting is the alignment of the arched opening of the mosque gateway with the promenade archade facing the Qibla direction. Such coincidence of alignment of two framed openings while they are facing different directions at the same time creates an oblique perspectives. In this scenario the gateway establishes the direction of the prayer hall while bringing back the role of the traditional Islamic mediating space.
These new relations are the outcome of the rotation of the prayer hall towards Mecca.This rotation cuts open the mass of the building towards mecca. The tensions created are maximized in the gateway of the new mosque.
alignment of two framed openings while they are facing different directions at the same time
view form North-West
section through the prayer hall and the main entrance
lower ground floor
Basement - parking plan
view of the prayer hall
View to the entrance where the traditional mosques’ fragments are connected together
view to mihrab
section through minaret
view to Mihrab
view to the entrance courtyard