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Islamic Architecture
 
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Hello!

I am working on my diploma project, which is Warsaw's Muslim Center (with mosque) and I am seeking guidance. Especially, I am interested in opinions of Muslim architects.

The main question is: is this design correct with Muslim faith? Especially:

- mosque level
- ground level
- non-geometrical shape
- green walls and trees on the roof- garden.

Of course, I would be very grateful for your opinion on all. Would you be so kind and help me?

Here are the sketches of plans: http://www.arch.website.pl. Below, I give you description of my idea:

--------------------------------------

Mosque for 350M and 100 women, placed in center of Warsaw in Powiśle district, near Wisła river, at Karowa street. Surrounding area is green with a lot of trees. This place is often viewed from the top.

Design direction: I want to design a building for Islamic Community suitable in the surrounding space.

This building will be green to continue and emphasize character of the district. There are two types of spaces in my design:

1. Culture and service: aula, library, shops, garage, and all service. Rectangular, orthogonal. It is a symbol of earth. Human and tradition, Islamic culture identity, opened to internal spaces.

2. Mosque with courtyard: Sacred space and a heart of the building showing spirituality of God, atmosphere of contemplation, reference to the purest and greatest simplicity of African / Sahara mosques. This space(praying area and courtyard) is covered by the sky, which means -- in Polish climate-- that it hass a glass roof. (Inspired by African musalla - platforms for praying covered only with the sky)

The main question is: is this correct with Muslim faith?
Przemek Sieradzki
Responses
 
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Przemek - your sketches are good. This is an interesting project. I would concern myself with the some of the practicalities of the design. As with any project the question should revolve around the function: How do people enter? Where do they park? How are the pre-prayer rituals accomodated? Can the building foster interaction and a sense of community? How does it fit into its context? Can the spaces within the building accomodate members of other faiths so that the building can be a true community center? Can the design of the prayer hall create a sense of calmness and beauty? How do the other spaces share the same lobby and filter traffic? Why the need for a minaret? You will find that these questions do not require you to be a Muslim, just a good architect.
Shiraz Allibhai
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Hello Przemek,

I saw your sketch but there are many problems in it, like:

1. You didn't separate spaces for males and females (nowadays, women pray on the upper floor, but in Islam they can pray behind the men).

2. The shape of the mosque is not perfect, I think the organic shape could support your concept.

3. The mihrab (the place where the IMAM stands) should be stronger and clearer than this.

4. You can make the parking underground, which gives you more area.

5. There is no main entrance in your project.

6. You can put the lecture rooms and offices in one zoneand the religious area in another zone.

7. The WCs and motawadda'(the place where prayers wash) must be the clean area then the dirty area.

You can view my file collection, there is an Islamic center with mosque that I designed when I was in my 2nd year. I can also send you the plans.
Ibrahim Karsou
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Thank you for all your opinions.

The design is on the beginning, and still evolving.

What I needed most, was to know that I won't do a mistake in the matter of religion, however your advice is very valuable.

I will try to manage with failures you mentioned. I will present soon, a development of the project.
Przemek Sieradzki
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Salam Przemek,

I saw your sketches, they indeed remain to work, but I find your architectural party rather interesting. Simply I want to draw your attention to a very important principle in a mosque and thus in any Islamic worship center: Orientation.

According to Islamic regulations, the direction of Mecca is sacred. So the WC should not be oriented in this direction! Thus the orientation of your spaces WC is false according to 'Islamic rules'. Even outside the mosque, a Moslem should not make his face needs or while turning the back on Mecca.

You can thus better base the party of your project on this idea of the orientation towards Mecca which symbolizes the direction towards the Divine. Thus your "pure" spaces (classes, library, room of prayer...) must comprise this preferential orientation. Thus, whereever he is in your project, the user can find His orientation. The minaret is not an obligation in a mosque. To put it you must find a function to it, a strong symbolic system (orientation why not?)

I hope to have helped you.

Salam.
Naima Boudidah
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
Thanks for all your advice.

If you want to see how it looks like now, check out this site: http://www.arch.website.pl.

It would be nice to know what do you think.
Przemek Sieradzki
Thesis: Islamic Center of Warsaw
One more word to explain its function:

level -1:
-parking
level 0:
left side - cultural center-auditorium,exposition for tiny museum of muslim
history in Poland
top: shops = suk
right: mosque + ablution + small school
level +1 left=library,top=administration, right= (mosque, ablution, school)
for women
level +2 and the rest= garden
Przemek Sieradzki
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