“… a mosque needs to be inspirational and spiritual enough to generate respect and create a divine feeling, otherwise it loses its purpose.”
– Marina Tabassum, Architect – Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tabassum’s idea was simple. She wanted to create a structure which had its roots in Bangladesh. “What I like to do in my practice generally is, root architecture to its place. To find its root, architecture needs to come from history, culture, climate etc. It’s not just about the visual aesthetics. It’s about combining all these elements of a place into a language of architecture. Not only is the historic reference of Islam important in this case but also the historic references of Bangladesh.”
“Our problem is that we have lost the rich glory of mosque building in Bangladesh. I think a mosque needs to be inspirational and spiritual enough to generate respect and create a divine feeling, otherwise it loses its purpose,” she adds.
It’s very much rooted in the history. If you look at mosque architecture historically, it generated from house form. It was a room where people would congregate to pray. Also not just prayer, during Prophet’s (pbuh) time various social, political issues and disputes were settled there.
“At that time it didn’t have the elements that we associate with a mosque today. Whatever we associate with a mosque today, let’s say the minarets and the domes, were introduced in different times for different reasons.
For instance, the dome came into being because that was the technical know-how of that time to cover a large space. Over time, this has become a symbol we associate mosques with, even though we have various new technologies to span a large roof,” says Marina Tabassum.
This isn’t the first time that Tabassum has been nominated for the Aga Khan Awards. She reached the finals once before for A5, the pavilion apartment in 2004. She seemed unmoved when asked if she expected to win this time. “There’s still a long process to go. Who knows what happen?” she smiles.
Regardless of whether she wins the award, the fact that architects like Tabassum, who still prefer to treat structures as living beings rather than just commercial prospects, still exist in the country is in itself a boon. And it was this principle that led to the creation of the beautiful Bait-ur-Rouf.
- The Daily Star | Marina Tabassum: An architect in search of roots
- THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS |Bait Ur Rouf Mosque | Marina Tabassum Architects
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies. The Award recognizes examples of architectural excellence throughout the Islamic world in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.
OTHER PROJECTS IN BANGLADESH:
|NAME||CITY||BUILDING TYPE||AWARD CYCLE|
|Chandgaon Mosque||Chittagong||Islamic Religious Facilities||2008-2010 Cycle (Shortlisted)|
|Friendship Centre||Gaibandha||Schools||2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted)|
|Grameen Bank Housing Programme||Bangladesh various locations||Community Development and Improvement||1987-1989 Cycle (Recipient)|
|National Assembly Building||Dhaka||Official Administration Facilities||1987-1989 Cycle (Recipient)|
|Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Centre||Teknaf||Cultural Facilities||2008-2010 Cycle (Shortlisted)|
|School in Rudrapur||Rudrapur||Education & Information Facilities||2005-2007 Cycle (Recipient)|
OTHER PROJECTS OF THE ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS FACILITIES BUILDING TYPE:
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali