Distributed Architecture is a New York-based collaborative practice committed to designing participative and instigative processes that bring equality, diversity and inclusion into the built environment.

Partner Fabrizio Furiassi is an architect, researcher and educator who teaches at Parsons / The New School. Since 2010, he has collaborated internationally with architecture firms, cultural institutions and enlightened clients to disseminate critical design culture. Fabrizio gained expertise in architectural design and urban research at The Commons Inc. in Montreal, Sou Fujimoto Architects in Tokyo, and Obra Architects in New York. He was a research fellow at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow, and currently is working on his Ph.D. at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Fabrizio holds masters’ degrees from Columbia University GSAPP and La Sapienza University of Rome.

Partner Catherine Ahn is an architectural designer and researcher based in New York and Seoul. She has over nine years of international professional experience in cultural, residential, and hospitality projects. Catherine gained expertise in architectural design and urban research at SITE and Obra Architects in New York. She graduated in architecture at Princeton University SoA and the Cooper Union. She was a research fellow at the Institute for Public Architecture in New York and recently completed research projects on construction waste disposal and environmental justice, collective design processes and pedagogy, and on new modes of community engagement with industrial stakeholders around Newtown Creek.

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A Mosque for All

In a suburban area with very few occasions of social gathering, the new mosque near Preston, Lancashire, is conceived as both a unique religious landmark and platform for social encounters. Accessible to all and intended to become a meeting point for the entire community, the area is designed to function as a public park to encourage human relations and cultural exchange in a country, the UK, where historically the Muslim community is the singularly most victimized, scrutinized, demonized and marginalized. To leverage the area dedicated to the park, the building develops its program vertically in respect of the Islamic tradition of juxtaposing functions in religious edifices. For the same reason, the parking is located underground and is connected to the free-for-all entrance of the mosque through a narrow excavated pathway. The building is constructed with renewable materials relying on local availabilities and craftsmanship, and is composed of two independent elements: a three-level timber structure accommodating the required functions, and a perforated envelope regulating the interior light and temperature during the different seasons. The combination of these two elements—the container and the contained—aims to reflect a new approach to orientation in the design of mosques that expands the relationships between inner spaces, voids, enclosures, and the external landscape calling for the site to become the place of a vivid activity. In respect of the believers, the prayer hall is elevated to the building’s highest floor and remains separate from the other spaces open to Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. While featuring double amenities such as restrooms, ablutions, cloakroom, and vertical connections, the interiors of this mosque differ from the typical setting by allowing equal access to the diverse spaces regardless of gender.

Location:   Preston, Lancashire (UK)
Client:        RIBA
Status:      Concept
Program:   Religion, Park, Public Space
 April 2021

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