Central mosque of Prishtina Competition Entry

Tarh O Amayesh as Consultants

Fundamental principal Of Plan comes from definition of Mosque which is a place for praying and going from body to soul. The prayer is someone who connects the earth to the sky. The mosque is a space for be becoming. Becoming is a symbol of movement and movement is the source of mosque (the house of god). This plan is shaped in this framework. Mosque is a symbol of ascending sprit from soil to the sky, from city to the KIBLAH

The words such as direction, plaza, water, function and plan, shape, beauty fullness and sustainability create this architectural text. The way of composing these elements and creating a space due to this architectural concept produces a complicated space and full of findings and changes.

The mission of this text is presenting an image from this procedure.

This project is located in urban area with natural topography. The level of this project in south is 7 meters higher from its north. This urban location gives the project an identity to connect different levels of the city. In proposed plan directions shape the project from inside and outside. From outside it determines the way of cars, pedestrian’s access to the project and its entrances and from inside it shows the penetration of project for connecting different parts of the city around it. The main entrance of the project from urban plaza is located in south and Alley besides this passing through the Project which is shaping related activities of Mosque around it to create vibration in the project.

The Middle path started from entrance urban plaza of the project and by passing through it and opening to level -1 and -2 It will reach to south plaza which is located in the level of urban fabric in the south. This path is not just connecting but also helps air flow and natural ventilation in underground levels which helps to save Energy.

The composition of open and closed spaces creates the concept of the project. Some plazas (open and green spaces) are designed in south, North and East part of the project to support going from city to Mosque, from this world to spiritual space. On the other hand this space connects the body to the soul, this world and the other world with mediating space such as plaza. Another plaza is designed in level -2 to help for supporting light and natural air for underground levels. It also creates the imagination of ascending the Mosque from the inside of soil. So the project is not coming out of the soil surface but from the depth of earth.

The green plaza with water is a symbol of being near to the nature. The order of nature is a sign of God. This is the way the Mosque is connected to nature and natural order. Plants and water give the environment the sense of softness and helping the living situation.

The body of the project is shaped by curves with rotation which is a symbol of The Dome. The Dome is the sign in spiritual Architecture. In this project a shell comes from down by rotation and being peaceful by directing to Kiblah. This peace creates a surface in dimensions of 63 m×40 m and 99 names of ALLAH (Based on Quran) are written on it in 40 languages. The door of the Mosque is designed by Moraghah .

The symbolic Minarets beside the epigraph is showing the coming up of the epigraph and moving to the sky. The Minarets are 103 meters high. They have steps and Elevators for going up to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

The separation and synergy of Entrances create complicated and attractive functions of the project.

The spaces for Ablution area, toilets and lockers are shaped separately for men and women in level -3.9.

The locations of plazas are shaped in coordination with plan to support light and natural air for service spaces. The function of these plazas in different levels and situations in connection with penetrating corridors creates sustainability.

The complex related to the Imam of mosque is designed in connection with each other to create the maximum access and comfort.

In this project the concept of structure is not the same as other projects. Here the structural and Architectural concepts are joined together to answer different needs of each other. In this plan the final size of structural elements does not come out of mathematical equation and economic limitations.

The structure of this project is shaped from combining two captive logics. In underground levels which usually include parking spaces, shops and services we have fewer problems in locating vertical structural elements and the details of structural elements follow regular criteria and the only problem is fitting this pattern with the specifications that are forced to the project from upper levels.

In upper levels we face with vast area such as praying areas for men and women. These long spans are covered with long beams that from one side they are placed on surrounding columns and from other side are placed on a central core. This central core should bear the transferred load from beams and sloped ceiling. In upper levels the height of each floor is considered in the way that the height of beams does not make any problem for the function of that floor.

The Minarets are considered as empty cores with square cross section which go up in their entire height. The final layer of roof which is sloped in to two surfaces with radial patterns is covered with two light materials and the main load that it supports in every triangle piece is the snow load.

Due to dimensions and the effects of them in spaces and with respect to sustainable design and the priority of concrete to steel materials, the steel elements would substitute with concrete.

atelier V’s entry in the International Design Competition for the Central Mosque of Prishtina, Kosovo

atelier V : architecture (atelier Mark vaghei) as Architects

Central Mosque of Prishtina

For us, the design solution for The Central Mosque of Prishtina has as its foundation the notion that Prishtina is a bridge between the East and The West. It could not be a entirely eastern mosque because of Prishtina’s various Western influences, nor could it be a structure modeled after the latest Western trends in design as Prishtina has strong roots in Islamic Culture and history, primarily an Eastern phenomenon. The Central Mosque of Prishtina thereby becomes a unique response to a particular culture, society and geography at the macro scale, and its site, district of Dardania, and the city of Prishtina in a more micro scale. It is both grand and monumental, and inviting at a human scale. It is grand and monumental in scale as it relates to Dardania and Prishtina with a minaret height of 83 meters measured from Bulevardi I Deshmoreve. The main structure in 39 meters high. This height and scale will assure it landmark status I a city dominated mostly by low to mid-rise residential structures. The glass enclosed Minaret will be seen from almost the entire city both during the day and at night when its glass cage is lighted to the sky, reaching for the god and heavens! At a more human scale, the main prayer hall structure is very approachable. It sits singularly, monumentally alone with no other structure touching it. This will allow for free and unrestricted circulation of large masses of people in the open and semi-open Upper Hayat around the hall and into the main entrance directly opposite of the Kiblah. Walking around the main Prayer hall, one can penetrate under the glass cube protecting enclosure to touch the stone faced of the prayer hall with large scale Koranic modern calligraphy adorning it. The circular motion created around the octagonal shape of the prayer hall, leaves one no choice but to lead to the entry point on the opposite side. The Mens prayer hall has been deliberately sunk one level from the Bulvardi I Deshmoreve level to allow females to enter the mosque’s Mahfil in a more direct way, a progressive gesture in line with today’s Islam and especially Kosovo’s position in the Islamic World. Men descend down a grand stair case into an interior portico and also enter the Men’s Prayer Hall on the lower level directly opposite of the Kiblah Axis. Lower Portico is also directly accessed via the Lower Hayat for those men and women who arrive on foot from the western side of the property. The Site has been planned to step with the terrain from east to west. Lowering the Mens prayer hall one level, has allowed it direct access from the Lower Hayat. Lower hayat which is surrounded by the Library, Class Rooms, Restaurant, Multi-purpose rooms, and the conference hall will be a place of gathering and in times of festivals, it can be used as additional prayer space. This Lower Hayat is marked with and oriented by a Clock Tower a uniquely Albanian feature which doubles as an elevator shaft accessing to parking below and library and Imam’s Apartment above. Again, the concrete Clock Tower is adorned with verses from Koran. All the important functions of the complex including the main Prayer Hall can be easily accessed from this Lower Hayat. In a way it acts as a social gathering space and an organizer. In the middle of the Lower Hayat is a Fountain which can be used for Ablution during the good weather as well as a skylight to the shops on the level below. The lower Hayat can be accessed from the East (upper Hayat), North and South(Pedestrian path). From the Lower Hayat, the monumental mass of the mosque can be seen leaving no doubt as to its presence and importance! The main Prayer Hall structure is derived from two distinct forces of geometry. One is the direction of the general City Grid and primarily the axis of Bulevardi I Deshmoreve and the other the direction of Kaba. The form starts out as a square, a significant form within Islamic Architecture, and it turns direction to face Kaba while leaving behind its ghost as a cubic glass enclosure to have a dialogue with the City. Once the square form turns, the limitations of the site clip its corners and turn it into an octagonal form with its main axis facing Kaba. Juxtaposition of the square upon square and its radial movement form the basis of the geometry of the dome of the Main Prayer Hall. The Gaps in this three dimensional juxtaposition, form the openings filled with skylights that fill the main prayer hall with a very high quality of light and shadow. The main prayer hall floor is approximately 2,580 M2. The Mihrab is a direct result of the geometry of the Prayer Hall, a glass wedge which is clearly identifiable both from interior as well as the exterior of the mosque. This glass wedge descends into the lower Men’s Prayer Hall level with back-lit glass. The interior of the prayer hall, is monumental and mesmerizing. One can look up at the ceiling and se the beautiful patterns of the beamed structure of the dome and pendent lights following the pattern. The walls are adorned with Gold Plated Calligraphy repeating “ In the name of god the merciful and kind” while the floor is a deep red patterned carpet, both signifying the richness of Allah. The Mahfil or Women’s prayer is on the main and second gallery levels. The main level is accessed directly at ground level and the second level is accessible via two elevators and large stairs. These levels look directly on Men’s Prayer and at the Mihrab. On all three levels, the relief calligraphy in certain zones turns into bookshelves for Korans.

The Cubic Glass enclosure around the main Prayer hall has practical, urbanistic and symbolic significance. From a practical point of view, it protects the main structure from severe winds during the winter months, it also, has within its glass panels solar cells that absorb the suns energy and help in the entire structure’s energy program. It also, has Koranic verses on the glass panels which convey different messages from afar (The religion before Allah is Islam) and close up (There is no compulsion in Religion) as symbolic representation of Islamic Identity. Urbanistically, the Glass cube follows the city grid and aligns itself with Bulevardi I Deshmoreve, giving the Mosque its proper place within the city fabric while the structure within turns to Kaba. Symbolically, it’s a gesture toward the Kaba’s cubic structure while protecting the sacred mosque much like a jewel in a jewel box. Additionally, at night, the entire glass cube becomes a digital LED surface glowing and conveying messages at micro and macro scale signifying the acknowledgement of Man’s technological progress in Islam.

The areas around the men’s Prayer hall are clearly segregated to male and female. The Men’s and women’s Ablution , showers and toilets are in a completely separate wings. Women are able to enter these areas directly without mixing with men through stair and elevators from the main level or from the Lower Hayat. Imam’s room is directly behind the Mihrab with a door to the Men’s Prayer Hall giving him direct access. Imam is also provided with an office within the administrative wing along with other accounting and administrative offices. The Conference hall with a capacity of 500 opens directly into the lower Hayat. It also has the ability to be divided into 3 separately functioning rooms. There are two elevators which directly access the Prayer Hall from the parking and shops below making it convenient to access the main mosque without navigating through other functions. The shops are organized along the southern pedestrian path, the north and western boundaries of the site. Additional shops are provided in the level below the Lower Hayat in a Bazaar format accessed from a western entry and via elevators from the parking below making it more convenient to shop during winter months.

The buildings are designed for low cost of maintenance. All the structures are to be built in Reinforced cast in place smooth finish concrete. The main Prayer hall will be cladded in large stone slab veneer and the dome beams will be cladded in stainless steel panels for low cost of maintenance and long life. The will be zones of landscaping provided in the Upper Hayat and the Lower Hayat with indigenous trees providing shade in the summer months.

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