Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Bait ur Rouf Mosque Dhaka, Bangladesh

Architect: Marina Tabassum Architects – Client: Sufia Khatun

Project Gallery

 

Project description

An adherence to the essential – both in the definition of the space and the means of construction – was crucial in formulating the design of Bait ur Rouf Mosque. With land donated by her grandmother and modest funds raised by the local community, the architect has created an elemental place for meditation and prayer.

The irregularly shaped site is covered by a high plinth, which not only protects against flooding but provides a gathering place set apart from the crowded street below. On top of the plinth sits the mosque, a perfect square, 23m x 23m and 7.6m high. Within this square is a cylinder, displaced to the northwest corner of the perimeter wall to create additional
depth for the colonnade and the ablution area on the southand east-facing sides respectively. And within this cylinder is in turn a smaller square, 16.75m x 16.75m and 10.6m high – that is, 3m taller than the perimeter wall. Rotated within the cylinder to orientate itself with the qibla, this pavilion contains the prayer hall, which is separated from the rest of the building by open-to-sky lightwells.

There are two structural systems in place – the load-bearing brick walls that define the outer perimeter and the smaller spaces, and the reinforced-concrete frame that spans the column-free prayer hall. The brick walls exploit the depth between the outer square and the inner cylinder, allowing for buttressing in the interstitial space. This in turn makes it possible for panels between the load-bearing structure to have a jali of brick, leaving out alternate bricks and rotating them. In the prayer hall itself a simple vertical gap in the brick denotes the direction of the qibla, but the recess is splayed so that worshippers are not distracted by sight lines onto the busy street. What they see instead is sunlight bouncing off the wall behind. Awash with light, open to the elements, the mosque ‘breathes’.

Jury citation

“In a transitional area caught between urban hyper-density and rural proximity, the terracotta mosque is an exquisitely proportioned building that is both elegant and eternal. Funded primarily by community donors, the mosque design challenges the status quo and understands that a space for prayer should elevate the spirit. The mosque does so through the creation of an interior space that is rich with light and
shadow, but at the same time possesses a robust simplicity that allows for deep reflection and contemplation in prayer.”

“The mosque appears to be inspired by multiple sources – one essentially traditional reference is to the heritage of the formal terracotta brick structures of the Bengal Sultanate of the fifteenth century; another inspiration is the Capitol complex built by Louis Kahn in Dhaka.”

“The quality of construction frequently raises the quality of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Bait ur Rouf Mosque, which contains an intricate geometric
layering of space – a square prayer chamber contained within cylindrical walls, which are in turn enclosed by a square terracotta brick structure that serves as the austere
public face of the building. Within the prayer chamber, the architect has created a delicate interplay of bare walls textured in red brick and pierced by shafts of light that
create an abstract, almost primeval symbolism when viewed in conjunction with the spots of light that punctuate the surface of the bare floors at different moments of the day. This abstract symbolism is undiluted by conventional forms of mosque architecture. Gone are the dome and the everprevalent minarets, the decorative panels of designed relief and calligraphy. In their place stand intricately structured
brick walls that imbue the structure with a unique aura of spirituality.”

 

About Marina Tabassum – mtarchitekts.com

Marina Tabassum graduated from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1995. The same year, with Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, she founded URBANA, an
architecture practice based in Dhaka. In 1997, her second year into practice, the firm won a prestigious national competition to design the Independence Monument of Bangladesh and the Liberation War Museum.

In 2005, Tabassum ended her ten-year partnership in URBANA to establish MTA (Marina Tabassum Architects). MTA began its journey in the quest to establish a language of
architecture that is contemporary to the world yet rooted to the place. The practice is consciously kept and retained at an optimum size, and projects undertaken are carefully chosen and are limited by number per year.

Marina Tabassum is the academic director of the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements. She has conducted design studios in BRAC University since 2005. She taught an Advanced Design Studio as visiting professor at the
University of Texas.

Tabassum has lectured and presented her works and ideas on architecture at various prestigious international architectural events. She has curated exhibitions and directed architecture symposia in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her project the Pavilion Apartment in Dhaka was shortlisted for an Aga Khan Award in 2004. Tabassum received an Ananya Shirshwa Dash award which recognised the top ten women of Bangladesh in 2004.

 

Project Data

Site area 755 m2
Ground floor area 700 m2
Cost 150,000 USD
Commission April 2005
Design June 2005 – August 2006
Construction September 2007 – July 2012
Occupancy September 2012

 

Aga Khan Award for Architecture Website

www.akdn.org/architecture

 

2016 Winners

 

2016 Nominated Projects

makoko_022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 19): Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria - The Floating School is a prototype structure whose main aim is to generate an alternative building system and urban culture for the populations of Africa’s coastal regions. The triangular A-frame or pyramid
AKTC / Habibeh Madjdabadi Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 18): 40 Knots House, Tehran, Iran - Creating a small and low budget apartment building in Tehran does not leave much space for creativity, yet an architect can try to do something with the material, textures, outer envelope and light.
AKTC / Hassan Saifuddin Chandan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 17): Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh - 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.
AKTC / Cemal Emden Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 16): Bunateka Libraries, various locations, Kosovo - A series of public libraries for disadvantaged youth in rural areas. “The idea is that books are a source of knowledge just like water is the source of life,” says the architect.
AKAA / AREP / Didier Boy de la Tour Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 15): Casa-Port New Railway Station, Casablanca, Morocco - Casa-Port railway station (French: Gare de Casa-Port) is a "Moroccan National Railway" station in the centre of Casablanca. This transport hub, designed to anticipate 25 million passenger trips-per-year in the future
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Ceuta Public Library, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 14): Ceuta Public Library, Spain - Ceuta, is a small Spanish enclave city on the Moroccan soil. The site of the Ceuta library is located on the original Marinid dynasty's archaeological area...The excavation ground was included in the interior space of the public building, and the architects
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 13): Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar - It is a cylindrical volume that measures 45m in diameter. The steel and concrete structure follows a diamond shaped grid that bends along the virtual surface of the cylinder. The façade uses a double skin system. The exterior skin is composed
Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 12): Friendship Centre, Bangladesh - The Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, was built for the local NGO Friendship, which provides services for poor citizens of the region. Built by Dhaka-based architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, it was designed
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 11): Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco - Situated in Guelmim, Morocco, 200 kilometres south of Agadir and known as the “door of the Sahara”, the School was conceived in line with a policy of decentralisation and making education more accessible to those living in remote areas.
Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 10): Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon - The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) building at the American University of Beirut (AUB) advances the university’s academic mission in the 21st century
National Library_033 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 9): King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - The King Fahad National Library is one of the most important cultural buildings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was completed and went into use for its intended purpose in November 2013.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran - The Manouchehri House is a boutique hotel and textile centre situated in Kashan’s historic residential neighborhood, in the province of Isfahan. The project entailed the restoration of a 19th century merchant home
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan'er - Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan’er – Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China - Micro Yuan'er is a project by zhang ke’s Beijing-based standardarchitecture, which revitalizes a historic hutong courtyard. The inserted structure, which contains a miniature art space and library
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain - This project by Castillo Miras Arquitectos explores the dichotomy between the solid, ageless construction of the existing 13th century Nasrid Tower, and the provisional, light, and degradable nature of the contemporary.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station - Baku, Azerbaijan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station – Baku, Azerbaijan - The Power Station is located on a natural harbor in the Bay of Baku, which used to serve as a small shipyard for the ships working for the oil platforms. The original brief asked the architects to demolish the old
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation - Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation – Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan - Royal Academy for Nature Conservation in Ajloun Forest Reserve of Jordan is “the first centre in the Arab world” specialised in offering training on nature conservation.
Superkilen - Public Park - Copenhagen, Denmark Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 3): Superkilen – Public Park – Copenhagen, Denmark - Superkilen is a public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. A public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture. A meeting place for residents of Denmark
Tabiat - Pedestrian Bridge - Tehran, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 2): Tabiat – Pedestrian Bridge – Tehran, Iran - Tabiat Bridge, literally: “Nature Bridge” is the largest pedestrian overpass built in Tehran, Iran. The architects first conceived the two-to-three level, 270-metre-long curved pedestrian bridge of varying width
Thread - Artists Residency & Cultural Center - Senegal Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 1): Thread – Artists Residency & Cultural Center – Senegal - Thread is a socio-cultural centre that houses two artists’ dwellings and studio space for local and international artists. An ecologically sensitive meeting place which demonstrates how art and architecture can be part of rural life

 

Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali

 

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s