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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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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.

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.

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.

As with Mosque V1 Modeling, this most recent proposal for the Shahjalal Mosque was physically modeled and photographed from the same perspectives as the six precedent mosques chosen for Mosque Massing, in order to have a constant to compare differences. It shows how the building deals with the two axis of fabric and mecca, as discussed in Site Axis. It also is located at the South Eastern edge of the park and addresses the street much like a Public House would with little or no boundary between the entrance threshold and the pavement.

With one of the aims of the the proposed mosque to combine the Minaret with its ventilation system based on precedents like the Contact Theatre, employing a strategy that is appropriate is crucial. Above is a sketch of simple stack effect ventilation taken from Environmental Design by Randall Thomas. I have been fortunate enough to have discussed such methods with Randall. They are both interesting and can improve the energy efficiency of a building dramatically if considered from an early stage of design. It is essential that all architects understand at least the basic principles upon which methods such as this are based.

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.

Brick, despite being a commonly used material, is often understated. The limits are only really set by the designer’s imagination and the dimensions of the brick. Even then you can “cheat” by cutting, chamfering or even creating bespoke bricks. The problem however is exploring an idea’s potential. This is very difficult with brick as due to the size of them at 1:1 and when sketching it is very hard to investigate in the 3rd dimension.

Here scale bricks at 1:24 are used to model a pattern in relief.

The pattern used on one of the six sides to the Tomb of Chelebi Oghlu is clearly based, at least in part, on Kufic script; the oldest calligraphic form of the Arabic scripts. It also features a spinning motif, one of the most frequently recurring patterns throughout Islamic art. Here the pattern has been adapted to the sizes of standard bricks rather than square cross sectional ones used previously.