New Thinking in Mosque Design
Previously I managed to do one mosque project and a few surau. When it comes to mosque design , most of us have some thoughts and conception of how the design should be. After solving the basic things in design such as function, circulation, orientation, green concept, budget and so forth, comes the another important factor of image, style, aesthetic and architectural form. In most cases in Malaysia we end up with mosque design which is quite similar in character to one another and those in the other parts of the world especially Muslim countries.
Recently in Singapore, we came to know of a newly completed mosque which also housed the other community and educational facilities. It is the Assyafaah Mosque. It was actually completed in 2004. The most prominent aspect of this mosque is the deviation of the normal thoughts of the design mosque. I have not been to this mosque but the images published in architecturepage.com shows that there are much mindset change to be done.
Assyafaah Mosque, Singapore
Being a practicing architect, this is of course quite a challenge but I presumed it is not that too difficult to do. The committee and the architect of this mosque have made bold move to decide on something new in respect to mosque design. Putting aside comments on how it feels to be in that mosque while performing prayer and others, as per now the design is something that to me shows mosque design can be successfully done even if it does not at all resembles the 'typical' mosque architectural forms.
Here in Assyafaah Mosque design, it has been in line with the culture of the local community, the people and in contextual architecture of the country, Singapore. It has at least placed careful consideration to assimilate the local culture and urban context contrary to the normally mid-east design approach. Apart from this, the successful consideration of mosque committee is the provision of a wide spectrum of facilities to house the needs for interactions, religious educations, the needy ie, the poor and the traveler, social gatherings and functions and many others, not strictly for prayers alone.
Similarly I admire the way Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan was design This mosque was completed in1989 which at that time the design of this mosque has actually deviate from the normal thoughts of mosque design.
Whatever basis that has being taken in the design, it prominently has catered the needs of the local community apart from the main function for praying. Faisal mosque design has huge area for natural ventilation giving the interior such brightness and comfort. In most mosque design sad to say that sometimes the element of natural ventilation and lighting was not given due consideration. As such it becomes warm and uncomfortable especially when it is in its full capacity during Friday prayers. Even with ceiling fans and nowadays industrial fans being used, it is still warm.