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Recently I was given a tour of the Brick Lane Mosque. It is a very good example of how a building can be re-appropriated for another use, but one of the more interesting features was this carpet. Only used in one space in the building (the upper floor space above the main prayer space), it is a carpet featuring a prayer mat pattern. Personally I have a preference for the traditional hard surface with individual mats for prayer, which allows a space to be more flexible, but I do love the quirkiness of this.

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As discussed in The Minaret, it is the only structure synonymous with a mosque. The inclusion of this feature is strengthened because of its integral use in the Environmental Design strategy. It is a simple brick tubular tower with an intricate water-jet cut stainless steel perforated grill set to a six pointed star pattern in plan as the crowning piece. This patterned sheet acts as the outlet for the prayer space’s passive ventilation strategy.

The rear of the proposal features a very ornate brickwork pattern based on Alvar Aalto’s Baker House method of using twisted and distorted overburnt bricks, set to the Brick Pattern generated from the Tomb of Chelebi Oghu. This pattern is used on the scheme’s facade to signify the religious parts of the building.

The aim of this project was to create something that sat comfortably. A building that was accepted by both Islamic and London cultures and that was happy in it’s context. It has taken heavily from Public Houses and addresses the corner of Shandy Park in a similar way to many examples such as The Wenlock Arms, breaking down any barrier threshold. The material selection of London Stock helps the structure to compliment it’s surroundings, being a exemplar of what can be achieved with the material. Ornamentation is kept subtle, especially on the street elevation, being used to signify the location of religious spaces and also creating visual barriers for private spaces. The rear elevations addressing the park are more extravagant in decoration but still in keeping with the scheme. Personally, I think it sits comfortably with a sense of belonging, in the true sense of the word.

The Prayer Hall is the heart of a mosque. Above is a visualization of the final proposed prayer space for the Shahjalal Mosque in Shandy Park. Taking the same principles of a lantern window to allow light in with expressed structure as previous proposals, as posted in Prayer Hall Interior Model. The space now creates a clear threshold between circulation and prayer space with the addition of colonnades flanking the space, whilst also creating a separate space to the rear for female prayer.

The proposed Shahjalal Mosque is a brick building. It will be built from London Stock for two reasons; that it is used by many other structures in the area and will give the building a local identity and that it is a locally sourced material, bringing the building’s construction embodied energy down dramatically.

One of the most important parts of this scheme is how the building addresses the corner of Shandy Park. Learning from the Wenlock Arms Public House, the corner of the proposed Shahjalal Mosque pushes right up to the boundary eliminating any privacy boundary that front gardens create. Here is an initial exterior perspective sketch to show this.

Not long ago I put up a post called Fashion Street, in which I applauded the attempt to create an building which featured elements from both typical Islamic and British vernaculars. Above is a partial elevation of my current proposal for the Shahjalal Mosque in Shandy Park. It attempts to create a hybrid of the two vernaculars taking from Public House, Industrial, Traditional Islamic and British Domestic styles. You can see the change in hierarchy in fenestration much like a London Terrace, the Brick Pattern inspired by Alvar Aalto’s Baker House and the Etched Glass, which covets the play on public/privacy with ornate patterns of a Pub’s window. All in an attempt to create a building that would feel at home in Britain or an Islamic nation.

Above is an image of Alvar Aalto’s Baker House, Cambridge, Mass (1946-49) taken from Brick: A World History by James W.P. Campbell. Aalto’s use of brick as an elevational treatment for the Baker House is of particular interest because of his use of twisted and distorted overburnt bricks. They are used at intervals to add interest to the surface, but laid to protrude from the wall they would make an interesting contrast to regular bricks if applied to a Brick Pattern.

A notable cast from the series which culminated in the Final Concrete Cast. This cube uses the skeleton frame as originally proposed, but when struck revealed a quite beautiful concrete finish with inserted clear acrylic pattern. The skeleton was retained rather than removed and the whole cube was worked to give the concrete a more rough texture to contrast with the smooth acrylic, which was also worked to give a frosted finish.