Ar. Kritika Juneja
Located in Bangalore, this mosque was built originally to provide shelter and education to underprivileged Muslim children. This was the fulcrum of the studio’s design approach, providing an opportunity for flexibility, since it remained a personal involvement and initiation project. New, progressive curricula were conceived combining aspects of traditional Gurukuls with Arabic educational systems. For the duration of their course, students live in the Madrassa and learn life skills, social studies, as well as Islam and its applications.
A total of ninety students could be enrolled in the course over 36 months. The concept was well-received, attracting funding and support from a wide range of sources, facilitating unified and conscious collaboration. The reimagining of the academic system could not simply be juxtaposed over the existing religious traditions of architectural expression, so the architectural form of the mosque was reinterpreted to suit the new education and lifestyle programme along with the aspirations of the users of the space. The programme-based approach resulted in a modest form which anchored the Madrassa to the ideas from which it was conceived, without embellishing it with highly decorative elements.
By deviating from the traditional architectural form of a mosque, this project explores how architecture can reimagine established boundaries, while finding a contemporary voice that fulfils the aspirations of the community’s users.
Ar. Mueen Haris, DS2 Design Studio
The remaining spaces of the Madrassa are organized around the sacred prayer rooms. An Islamic worship space should include the following elements: the Mihrab, which indicates the Qibla wall, pointing towards Mecca, as well as a minaret where the Imam can deliver sermons.
In the south, there are residential and administrative areas, in the centre, prayer halls, and in the north, classrooms. Bays are devoted to primary functions, with each bay crowned by a semi-circular vault, externally dividing the form into three functional sections. On the eastern side of the structure, a large courtyard flanks the bays, providing natural light and ventilation.
As there are no interior walls that divide the institute’s spaces, there is no hindrance to visual connectivity, as well as free circulation. The rooms’ breathable spaces psychologically enhance the users’ safety and security. Resistance to building internal walls is a metaphor for inclusivity and acceptance, which are fundamental ideals on which the project was based.