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AL RAWDA MOSQUE


Urban and Architectural


Al Rawda Mosque which was inaugurated in September 2011 during the month of Ramadan, is located in the area of Badr Al Jadeeda in Amman. The project sits on a flat land at an intersection of three roads in a quiet neighborhood of local style residential buildings among hills of greenery. The main challenge of the design was to explore new possibilities of the mosque typology yet maintaining the identity and spirituality of such an influential building. The work included the design of all aspects including architecture, interior design, furniture, woodworks, carpets, door handles, and all other items. This played a major role in implementing the concept on all elements in the project and carrying it to its full potential. Upon entering the mosque the user is met with a roofed porch that has a verse of the Qoran written in relief on the Ajloun stone front edge of the canopy, and a patterned steel structure to the left that is bottomed with a planter and topped with an opening to the sky to allow plants to climb on the structure and penetrate the canopy to the light. The passageway to the right leads to the ablution areas and is separated from the main street with a two-story high wall that is made with a pattern of glass reinforced concrete. This wall conceals the service area and shoe racks and at the same time allows light to penetrate and play on the stone with its shadows and patterns. The pattern used in these structures is a re-adaptation of a Siljuq pattern from the eastern Islamic lands. It was chosen for its uniqueness and geometric complexity and interest. The main door of the mosque is an impressive four-meter high solid walnut wood door with a pattern engraved on it. It leads to a yet more fascinating space in the main prayer hall, which is a linear space directed towards Mecca with a suspended wooden perforated partition separating the women’s hall in the mezzanine, providing privacy yet maintaining engagement with the spirit of the mosque. The concept of the building is to sculpt a contemporary spiritual space using light as the main tool in a minimal architectural language. The masses and openings are designed to respond to natural light throughout the day from the various angles and shapes of the windows. The large eastern glass façade of the main hall is paralleled with a six-meter high freestanding patterned wall that filters the morning light and allows it to penetrate the interior space forming a variety of patterns on the floors and emphasizing the Qoranic verses inscribed on the walls. This light changes direction and shape with the change of sun angle until at noon it reaches the thin long strip of glass above the Karaki stone Mihrab, which is a Jordanian stone that is known for its deep grey color and unique patterns. The light also emphasizes the calligraphed Qoranic verses that are written in relief on the upper circumference of the space and reflects on the patterned ceiling and the five-meter dome exposing its multiple levels and depth. In the afternoon and at the time of the sunset prayer, the light penetrates from the western end through the long perforated wooden Minbar to again draw patterns of different scales and shapes on the simple carpeted blue floor also designed by the Atelier using simple Islamic patterns. When we started working on the design of Al Rawda Mosque in Amman, the initial challenge was creating a contemporary mosque while at the same time preserving the spiritual essence and the Islamic identity of such an important religious building, and employing patterns was an important factor in establishing the connection with the traditional Islamic art of decoration. So we started on a journey of extensive research to find the right pattern to use and the methods of employment. And through our search we came across a Medieval Islamic tomb located in Maragha, the Gunbad – i – Qabud. This was a small building that had a very interesting pattern on its exterior stone facades that we found quite complex and unique. So we embarked on a journey to understand the pattern in order to be able to adapt it to our design. The pattern belonged to a family called “girih” patterns. The mathematical logic behind them was discovered by a Harvard student of physics called Peter J. Lu in 2007. Lu found that these patterns consisted of five basic tiles that include smaller lines inside them and that can be tiled in an infinite number of ways to produce non-repeating patterns.  He found the key to these five tiles in a 15th century architectural scroll in the Topkapi in Istanbul. These tiles follow the same concept of the Penrose tiles which were named after Roger Penrose who investigated these patterns in the 1970s, and found that these patterns follow an intricate mathematical logic. So the girih tiles were developed by medieval Islamic art 500 years before western mathematics developed the concept of Penrose tiling! However, there is still no evidence of whether Islamic artists used mathematics or just geometrical relations to develop these complex patterns. So after studying the five tiles and analyzing our Maragha example according to the previous concepts we discovered that it used 4 of these tiles; the decagon, the hexagon, the bow tie, and the rhombus.  These tiles have lines in them that actually produce the visible pattern which the lines of the tiling disappear in the background. In order to facilitate the construction of these patterns on our facades and architectural elements using moulded glass-reinforced- concrete, we had to come up with a girih pattern that can be repeated to minimize the number of different moulds that we will have to make. The result was the pattern in the image below that is composed of the four tiles but in unique design for Al Rawda mosque, establishing a contemporary version of the ancient mathematical sophistication using modern construction techniques and marking the beginning to a new generation in the production of Islamic patterns.

Description


Details

Location

32.0635، Zarqa King Hussein Ben Talal Street Amman Jordan 11965, Jordan

Worshippers

184

Architect Name

Uraiqat Architects

Area

620 sqm

Drawings

Map

Urban and Architectural

Al Rawda Mosque which was inaugurated in September 2011 during the month of Ramadan, is located in the area of Badr Al Jadeeda in Amman. The project sits on a flat land at an intersection of three roads in a quiet neighborhood of local style residential buildings among hills of greenery. The main challenge of the design was to explore new possibilities of the mosque typology yet maintaining the identity and spirituality of such an influential building. The work included the design of all aspects including architecture, interior design, furniture, woodworks, carpets, door handles, and all other items. This played a major role in implementing the concept on all elements in the project and carrying it to its full potential. Upon entering the mosque the user is met with a roofed porch that has a verse of the Qoran written in relief on the Ajloun stone front edge of the canopy, and a patterned steel structure to the left that is bottomed with a planter and topped with an opening to the sky to allow plants to climb on the structure and penetrate the canopy to the light. The passageway to the right leads to the ablution areas and is separated from the main street with a two-story high wall that is made with a pattern of glass reinforced concrete. This wall conceals the service area and shoe racks and at the same time allows light to penetrate and play on the stone with its shadows and patterns. The pattern used in these structures is a re-adaptation of a Siljuq pattern from the eastern Islamic lands. It was chosen for its uniqueness and geometric complexity and interest. The main door of the mosque is an impressive four-meter high solid walnut wood door with a pattern engraved on it. It leads to a yet more fascinating space in the main prayer hall, which is a linear space directed towards Mecca with a suspended wooden perforated partition separating the women’s hall in the mezzanine, providing privacy yet maintaining engagement with the spirit of the mosque. The concept of the building is to sculpt a contemporary spiritual space using light as the main tool in a minimal architectural language. The masses and openings are designed to respond to natural light throughout the day from the various angles and shapes of the windows. The large eastern glass façade of the main hall is paralleled with a six-meter high freestanding patterned wall that filters the morning light and allows it to penetrate the interior space forming a variety of patterns on the floors and emphasizing the Qoranic verses inscribed on the walls. This light changes direction and shape with the change of sun angle until at noon it reaches the thin long strip of glass above the Karaki stone Mihrab, which is a Jordanian stone that is known for its deep grey color and unique patterns. The light also emphasizes the calligraphed Qoranic verses that are written in relief on the upper circumference of the space and reflects on the patterned ceiling and the five-meter dome exposing its multiple levels and depth. In the afternoon and at the time of the sunset prayer, the light penetrates from the western end through the long perforated wooden Minbar to again draw patterns of different scales and shapes on the simple carpeted blue floor also designed by the Atelier using simple Islamic patterns. When we started working on the design of Al Rawda Mosque in Amman, the initial challenge was creating a contemporary mosque while at the same time preserving the spiritual essence and the Islamic identity of such an important religious building, and employing patterns was an important factor in establishing the connection with the traditional Islamic art of decoration. So we started on a journey of extensive research to find the right pattern to use and the methods of employment. And through our search we came across a Medieval Islamic tomb located in Maragha, the Gunbad – i – Qabud. This was a small building that had a very interesting pattern on its exterior stone facades that we found quite complex and unique. So we embarked on a journey to understand the pattern in order to be able to adapt it to our design. The pattern belonged to a family called “girih” patterns. The mathematical logic behind them was discovered by a Harvard student of physics called Peter J. Lu in 2007. Lu found that these patterns consisted of five basic tiles that include smaller lines inside them and that can be tiled in an infinite number of ways to produce non-repeating patterns.  He found the key to these five tiles in a 15th century architectural scroll in the Topkapi in Istanbul. These tiles follow the same concept of the Penrose tiles which were named after Roger Penrose who investigated these patterns in the 1970s, and found that these patterns follow an intricate mathematical logic. So the girih tiles were developed by medieval Islamic art 500 years before western mathematics developed the concept of Penrose tiling! However, there is still no evidence of whether Islamic artists used mathematics or just geometrical relations to develop these complex patterns. So after studying the five tiles and analyzing our Maragha example according to the previous concepts we discovered that it used 4 of these tiles; the decagon, the hexagon, the bow tie, and the rhombus.  These tiles have lines in them that actually produce the visible pattern which the lines of the tiling disappear in the background. In order to facilitate the construction of these patterns on our facades and architectural elements using moulded glass-reinforced- concrete, we had to come up with a girih pattern that can be repeated to minimize the number of different moulds that we will have to make. The result was the pattern in the image below that is composed of the four tiles but in unique design for Al Rawda mosque, establishing a contemporary version of the ancient mathematical sophistication using modern construction techniques and marking the beginning to a new generation in the production of Islamic patterns.

Description