Excerpt: Of the six winners, however, the project that engages most directly with the culture and heritage of Islam is the humble and transcendentally beautiful Bait Ur Rouf mosque.
Located on the periphery of Dhaka in Bangladesh, the mosque, which cost $150,000, was funded entirely by private donations, and its flexible design allows the building to act as a school, meeting room and informal playground as well as a place of worship in an area where community facilities are notable by their absence.
“It’s a community mosque that is a space for contemplation and getting closer to God which is cooler, calmer and more comfortable, and it’s location is also interesting,” explains Derakhshani.
“It isn’t in the city centre, it’s on the periphery, and the role and importance of these spaces – urban villages as they are sometimes known – is just starting to be recognised.”
With no dome, minaret or mihrab, the building also stands in contrast to popular notions of what a mosque should look like.
“At the beginning of my design process I wanted to look deeper into the rich architectural legacy of Islam,” says the mosque’s architect Marina Tabassum.
“Domes and minarets are symbolic gestures [and] symbols are not the essence of devotion or faith. At times they can detract from the main essence of Islam, which is about complete submission to one God omnipresent.
“To be in complete communion with God one needs a space that evokes a feeling of spirituality, a space where people can connect with the divine. I find symbols a distraction and I wanted to focus instead on the sense of spirituality.”
More at the source: October 6, 2016 – Nick Leech for The National UAE
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Friendship Centre Gaibandha, Bangladesh
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Bait ur Rouf Mosque Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre Beijing, China
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Issam Fares Institute Beirut, Lebanon