The entire 1,500 square meter roof and the 450 square meter eastern part of the Crusader era building, formerly used as a Women's Mosque, has now been completely revitalized by the Technical Office of the Jerusalem Revitalization Program for the Old City (JRP), implemented through a grant of $175,000 from the Arab Fund to Welfare Association.
The low-lying structure is actually a long two-aisled hall that has seen a variety of uses over the last millennium. Some time after Saladin's ousting of the Crusaders and liberation of the city, the building was divided, the eastern half into a Women's Mosque and the western half into an assembly hall for the adjacent Madrasa of Fakhr al-Din Mohammad (today's Islamic Museum), built in the fourteenth century. The Crusader era building has not seen major repair in centuries, and minor repairs which have been carried out have had only cosmetic effects, leaving the interior leaking, and chronically damp and humid. The restoration process of the former mosque will allow the building to serve as the new facility for al-Aqsa Library, currently housed in the cramped quarters of al-Madrasa al-Ashrafiya, also within the Haram.
Source: Old City Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme
Touqan, Shadia. 2004. Revitalise to Survive: the Old City of Jerusalem. In Iran: Architecture for Changing Societies. Philip Jodidio (ed). Torino: Umberto Allemandi & C.
This publication is a result of an International Seminar held in Tehran and Yazd, Iran, between 11-17 October 2002, sponsored by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. "The Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture had been considering for some time the organisation of a meeting in Iran that would provide the opportunity of engaging in meaningful dialogue between national architects, teachers, and students in the fields of historic preservation and contemporary design, and their counterparts from other countries." (Luis Monreal, from the preface)
"The meetings in Iran marked the first time that an Award seminar has been split into two different but complementary subjects: historic preservation and contemporary architecture and planning. This dual structure closely reflects the realities that most Muslim societies face today. On one hand, there is an urgent need to protect and revitalise historic urban heritage and the contexts in which it is located; on the other, there is a massive need for new construction, including housing, industrial and corporate structures, public facilities, and planning and infrastructure initiatives." (Luis Monreal, from the preface)