The northern coast of the Kingdom of Oman will soon be graced by twenty five new Mosques. They will be the community places and spiritual homes for the citizens of the likewise newly founded townships. Such large scale construction project is extending previous standards of today’s urbanism. It reaches out to new dimensions of format and quality as well as to new strategies of urban planning.
Most notably, on this occasion the Kingdom of Oman may render unique profile and visibility to its particular social and cultural identity. Its “traditional modernity” is essentially marked by cosmopolitan and tolerant social attitudes and distinguished equally by plurality and homogeneity. Driving change from tradition to modernity at deliberately moderate pace has become a trademark. The new urban project extending along the seashore of the northern Arabic peninsula shall be a statement for the Third Millennium.
MOSQUE is about balance and harmony. Advanced technology and traditional material merge into a refine and elegant ensemble where the organic and the most advanced technology meet to create a community place for Prayer and Peace.
MOSQUE is a manifestation of the profound and rich religious, social and cultural Arabic system.
The physical and the religious reality manifest in one experience.
The three projects developed below refer to two plainly different sizes and exigencies. Two different designs are presuming a capacity of 850 visitors. The third is based on the premise of 1500 attendants at the same time. All three different designs are based on a common conceptual ground, developing from there into diverse realization and appearance for the proposed 25 sites.
Constitutive elements of the basic concept
A solid plinth of stones assures the seclusion and serenity of the ensemble.
A vast forecourt of white crystalline marble unfolds in front of the main building. The latter containing the separated entry segments for men and women, the Musallah and its side rooms, the Imam Residency and Imam Garden. Straight through the middle of the court a line of several water basins which are mutually connected is leading towards the front wall of the main building. Again, these water lines are being flanked by further basins of the same form. This arrangement uses ordered repetition in reminiscence to Arabic architecture using fractal geometry as key utility especially for mosques and palaces.
The ornamental form of the water basins is based on the structural essential of the sculpture in the Musallah. Rhythmic repetition and re-arrangement of this form ends in the radiant floral structure. Passing by the water lines, visitors are thus being accorded to the serene atmosphere of the site while they are proceeding towards the entrances.
Entrance to the Musallah for men is right-hand side of the water path. Facilities like washrooms and shoe storage are located in this access area.
Entrance for the Ladies is likewise on the left-hand side.
Stepping into the prayer room from both different sides, the believers will share light and spiritual uplifting by the same serene and peaceful atmosphere in the prayer hall.
The room itself is surrounded by a solid 830 mm thick wall of 3390mm height, cladded by crystalline marble. Thus elegant and brightly covered by natural crystal stone material this wall is carrying the lighting technology for the evening and night situations as well as the air conditioning system. The supporting wall it also bears the glass cube covering the Musallah and its steel construction.
On the opposite side of the entrances at the end of the Prayer hall the Imam’s Residency and Imam’s Garden are located. Both spaces are of particular intimacy. In order to convey a concentrated atmosphere, only one ornament is placed in each of the venues. Each of them as the same variation of the ever same essential radiant floral structure.
The glass cube is assembled on a tri dimensional space frame. The serial alignment of the steel elements as triangular pyramids are creating an infinite play of geometrical motives and shadows very close to the Arabic ornamental tradition.
A voluminous sculpture is placed in the center of the prayer room. It embraces the virtual Minarat, the “gate from heaven and earth” and – the place of light. Its form is generated from universal art forms to be found in nature. Suspended as in levitating the sculpture evokes an atmosphere of sheltered serenity, contemplation and peace. It constitutes the tie between the ground and the superior, between heaven and earth.
The physical appearance of the sculpture varies and is specific to each mosque. Each form has been created by subjecting the essential art form provided by nature to specific mathematic processing. Transparency and absence of gravity define the atmosphere of the venue.
In the daytime shadow patterns are generated by the serial geometry of the space frame in function of the sun’s path from dawn to dusk. Light and shadow make up a fluent energetic tissue slowly gliding over the pending object’s surface and aligning with its organic shape. Thus shadow patterns continuously change in time flow. When by end of the day the shadow play of natural daylight slowly fades away with the disappearing sun, the smart tissue will start to glow. Throughout the night it shall embrace a powerful beam (Minarat) of aligned light reaching from ground of the Mosque to the infinite nighty sky. Pure physical energy, bundled in a mighty fountain of light streams from earth to heaven.
MOSQUE generates identity for the existing as well as for newly emerging cities. The transparent cubes made of glass and complex steel construction accentuates their surroundings by their simple and distinct geometrical forms. They give significancy to the cityscape, while by night they turn into a ribbon of mighty beacons winding along the north coast of Oman, mapping the line between land and sea and likewise shining for of Arab culture and civilization. … reaching out towards the Third Millennium.