Preston Mosque (Competition)

Preston, 2021

One of the core aspects of Islam is that certain forms of geometric design assist us in experiencing the perfection of Allah. With this understanding, combined with a desire to enhance the sense of unity in prayer during the Jamaat, this proposal imagines a domed prayer hall surrounded by a colonnade comprising 99 columns in pairs, each inscribed with one of the names of Allah. In his review of sacred architecture in a book entitled Architecture, Mysticism and Myth (1892), the architect, writer and teacher W.R. Lethaby points to the universal acceptance of the form of the egg as a symbol of creation. In this scheme the form also has the benefit of simultaneously emphasising the direction of Mecca, with the Qibla located on the axis of the roof, while at the same time reinforcing a sense of unity. We strongly believe that at its best, architecture is a social art and supports personal and collective spiritual enlightenment.

As architects we have made many studies of sacred geometry (particularly referencing the work of the late Keith Critchlow), of esoteric Islam as in the writings of Rumi, and of the universal truths that are revealed by the Qur’an. It seems obvious to us that architecture always reflects its cultural context and that the time is now right for an evolution of the Mosque as an architype of the universal temple in which all can experience a connection to the divine.

Design Team: Muneeb Ali Khan, Sophie Woodhatch, Nic Pople, George Sinclair