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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.

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 shows the second version of the proposed Shahjalal Mosque in Shandy Park. Already shown in Mosque V2 Modeling, it uses pattern work previously discussed in Brick Pattern, Paving Pattern and Etching Pattern, whilst combing styles of traditional Islamic and English domestic and industrial styles as shown in Power Pub and Collision Course. It does not however work programatically and lets itself down by not revealing it’s inspiration in elevational detailing.

A work in progress.

The geometric patterns from Etching Pattern has been applied to glass to create a sample at 1:1. Here it has been photographed next to brickwork to show the contrast between the two proposed materials and how they sit in harmony.

Here on a square grid-basis, a spinning four-fold pattern has been developed with stabilizing star octagons.  Another example of Islamic Patterns, it adheres to a geometric rule of repetition and has been progressed further to create two zones; translucent and opaque.

Brick Lane in London is a excellent example of middle eastern culture inhabiting a part of a british city. The area shows a delicate hybrid of cultures with many middle eastern activities being practiced in re-appropriated english buildings with little if any impact on the exterior.¬†One elevation of note in amongst this very british vernacular, which includes landmarks such as the Truman Brewery, is Fashion Street. The aesthetics of the buildings that run the length of the street have clearly been created by merging both cultures vernacular styles to create something new. My feelings are that a lot of the decorative work is unnecessary, however the forms of the fenestration; taking a very industrial window and adding a slight islamic twist, generates fantastic forms. The strength of a material such as brick, and it’s use in both architectural styles, permits very subtle detailing to create a building which would feel comfortable amongst both.

The image shown is an illustration of how brickwork or paving blockwork could be cut to interlock structurally and create a spinning motif, which is one of the most frequently recurring patterns in Islamic art. Taken from Islamic Patterns by Keith Critchlow, I especially like it if used in the main foyer space. Orientated in the right way it aligns with both axis the proposed Mosque deals with with, that of the existing fabric and of Mecca, as discussed in Site Axis. It also starts to address the detailed domesticity that the Wallpaper gives The Grapes Public House.