One architecture student’s dream is soon to become a reality as his graduation project was approved for construction. 23-year-old Suhail Mohammen Suleiman of ALHOSN University has just had his concept for a sustainable mosque with adjoining Islamic centre approved by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments in Abu Dhabi.
The contemporary concept steps away from what many consider to be traditional mosque design, where spiralling minarets and arching domes play a major part, replacing these with modern references such as a bulbous main volume with two soaring spires.
Dr. Naima Benkari, an assistant professor who oversaw Suleiman’s work, explains: “It is absolutely not a traditional mosque. It is a quite modern, organic kind of mosque. To have a mosque, you do not need that much. You need a clean flat area and a pole, column or sign that shows where Mecca is.”
Sustainability also features heavily in the approved design. The glass that is so often opted for in major UAE schemes has been replaced by Corian from manufacturer Du Pont. This material is a translucent polymer that enables natural light to seep through like glass but stops heat getting in, reducing the mosque’s dependency on energy-heavy air conditioning.
Also included in the design are green roofs and an open-air courtyard space with a fabric canopy, providing much-needed shading. As a result, the project has been awarded a Five Pearl Rating under ‘Estidama’, a sustainability framework aligned with Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 Development Plan.
Professor Abdul Rahim Sabouni, Vice Chancellor and CEO of ALHOSN University, commented: “Suhail was inspired by the Islamic doctrines of ‘Shahada’, the declaration of belief, and ‘Tawheed’, monotheism to come up with a unique design that reflects the bright future of Islamic architecture in the UAE. ALHOSN University is very proud of him and extends its full support for the transformation of his project from the drawing board to reality.”