Has Mosque Design Really Developed? Notes on the Hidden Complexities of Mosques’ Architectural Brief
Mosques have become a rich pool for architects to show their skills in expressing the sacred in the Islamic culture and religion. Still, while the architectural outcomes of mosques have started to look radically different; not much seems to change in how architects are tackling mosque’s architectural brief—the brief of a specific building typology that fulfils particular spatial and functional targets. In contrast, mosques have a rich dynamic function. In addition to dealing with users from different genders and age groups, mosques’ function varies significantly through the day, during the week, and in different times associated with Islamic rituals. Architects, however, have often reacted to the complexity of the everyday elements of mosque brief by applying the same simplistic recipe of a generic multipurpose open space. This paper, therefore, displays a provocative argument critiquing the current formal and visual development of mosque architecture as insufficient for a critical evolution of this building typology. Using a critical analysis of literature on mosque’s functionality as well as the author’s observations on different mosques in the Middle East and the UK, the paper will illustrate through two elements in the mosque brief (the entry space and the dynamic prayer hall) certain complexities associated with the mosque architecture that can act as a base for creativity in mosque design. The paper draws on the works of two scholars: the theorist and architect Jeremy Till around contingency in architecture and the creative brief as well as the work of the philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre on the production of space. The paper ends with speculations on mosque architectural brief as a clue for changing the future of mosque design from being a ‘hard space’ with photographic qualities to become a social ‘lived space’ that celebrates human agency.
Citation : Megahed, Y. (2019) Has Mosque Design Really Developed? Notes on the Hidden Complexities of Mosques’ Architectural Brief. In: Al Naim A., Al Huneidi, H.M., Majid, N.H.A. (Eds.) Mosque Architecture: Present Issues and Future Ideas. Kuala Lumpur: Abdullatif Al Fozan Award For Mosque Architecture & Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia Berhad, pp.139-153.
ISSN : 9789674608408
Research Institute : Institute of Architecture
Peer Reviewed : Yes
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