Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 17): Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh

ad6Adrienne Clarkson: Why do you think beauty is so important to us, even when there are so many other needs around?

 

His Highness the Aga Khan: I think all faiths express themselves in some cultural form or the other. Islam is a faith which has expressed itself in cultural manifestations over centuries in different parts of the world. I think it is very important that those manifestations should be seen, and I hope admired. And they should inspire young people, who are talented young architects, land planners…. So that they can inspire their own buildings with a sense of continuity, but of our time.

 

Shortlisted Project – 2014-2016 Award Cycle: Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Ventilation and the play of light make this neighbourhood mosque a refuge for spirituality.

After a difficult life and the loss of her husband and near relatives, Sufia Khatun donated a part of her land for a mosque where a temporary structure was erected. After her death, her grand-daughter, architect Marina Tabassum, acted on her behalf as fundraiser, designer, client and builder to bring the project to completion.

In an increasingly dense neighbourhood of Dhaka, the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque was raised on a plinth on a site axis creating a 13-degree angle with the qibla direction, which called for creativity with the layout.

A cylindrical volume was inserted into a square, facilitating a rotation of the prayer hall, and forming light courts on four sides.

The hall is a space raised on eight peripheral columns. Ancillary functions are located in spaces created by the outer square and the cylinder. The plinth remains vibrant throughout the day with children playing and elderly men chatting and waiting for the call to prayer.

Funded and used by locals, and inspired by Sultanate mosque architecture, it breathes through porous brick walls, keeping the prayer hall ventilated and cool. Natural light brought in through a skylight is ample for the daytime.

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Ventilation and the play of light make this neighbourhood mosque a refuge for spirituality.

 

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Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali

 

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Author: Arif Ali

Arif lives miles away from the crowded city of Chicago. He has interest in technology, spirituality, religion, psychology and community. Find him somewhat engaged on Twitter.

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