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.
In order to maximize 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 entrance of the Mosque through a narrow excavated pathway. The building is constructed with local materials and is composed of two independent elements: a three-level timber structure accommodating the required functions, and a steel, glass and stone 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 highest floor of the building and remains separate, although in dialogue, with the other spaces available to either the 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 different spaces for all, regardless of gender.
Status: Competition Entry
Program: Religion | Park | Public Space
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