In 1979, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an off-shot of the Muslim Student Association founded in 1963, invited the architect Gulzar Haider to design a headquarters mosque for the society in Plainfield. The mosque was completed by 1981 and has been in use since 1982, and includes prayer space, a library, and administrative offices.
The mosque is situated among cornfields and approached by a long driveway. The plan is based on the square and its subdivisions, and the exterior elevation consists of a central cube surrounded rectangular volumes of various heights. The brick exterior is largely unadorned and is broken up by rows of standard rectangular windows and keyhole-shaped windows, as well as four large round second-story windows. A courtyard paved with rectangles of concrete and brick, with a fountain, runs along the northwest face of the mosque. Externally, there are no traditional elements of Islamic architecture, and the mosque is an example of what Omar Khalidi calls an "innovative design" in American mosque architecture. There is no minaret, or visible external dome, though three internal domes are present.
The plan of the prayer hall is of two squares imposed on each other, forming an eight-pointed star. A dome on a two-story drum is centered over the prayer hall. Like the exterior, the interior is plain and lacking in ornament. The large round windows with geometric motifs let light into the interior space and casts shadows of the geometric shapes.
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Kahera, Akel Ismail. Deconstructing the American mosque: space, gender, and aesthetics, 77-81. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.
Metcalf, Barbara Daly. Making Muslim space in North America and Europe, 39-40. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.