Four mosques win architecture award


Dammam : The Abdullatif Al-Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture was announced as a global platform to contribute to the development of contemporary mosque architecture globally.

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Around 35 mosques that have been built in the Kingdom since 1970 were nominated for the award. Four of these won. The award’s first edition offered SR2 million, which was distributed among the four winners. These were: the mosque at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran, the Al-Kindy Square Mosque, Four Communities Mosque in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh and the umbrella project in the courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. The first session concluded last week at the Dammam Sheraton under the aegis of Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif. Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Board of Trustees and chairman of the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities, was also present.
The launching of the award, which is managed by an executive committee, had been announced in Alkhobar to develop architecture by raising awareness of the importance of the role of structure and aesthetics. Abdullah Al-Fozan, chairman of the Board of Directors at Al-Fozan Holding Co., said that the award aims to improve the construction of mosques in a modern environment while optimizing the traditional role of mosques. He said: “The supreme objectives of the award are developing and enhancing environmentally interactive architecture and achieving an integral balance between a mosque’s beauty and spirituality and its surroundings. “It is our hope that the award will highlight distinctive mosque designs around the world.”

He said: “The first edition of the award, to be given every three years, is up for grabs among mosques that have been constructed in the Kingdom since 1970. “The following editions of the award will be held in other countries. A head office will be established to develop a database of winning candidates and designs so that their ideas can be reused by promising architects who wish to excel and contribute to the field.” An endowment of SR60 million has been devoted to funding and ensuring the continuity of the award, he said.

The award also aims to support mosque construction globally and bring distinctive designs to the forefront.
“In the long run, the award aims to contribute to exploring the various trends that affect the development of mosque architecture,” Al-Fozan said. The award is also designed to encourage architects, engineers, planners and designers, as well as students studying architecture, planning and engineering around the world to develop houses of worship both creatively and sustainably. The initiative aims to provide a comprehensive database for organizations wishing to construct mosques. “It is vital that houses of worship set positive examples by ensuring sustainability at the social, cultural, economic and environmental levels,” he said.

The KFUPM Mosque is located on a platform at the edge of a small body of water on the campus. Although the building incorporates a traditional mosque plan, the design abstracts traditional elements of the mosque through its use of modern architectural vocabularies and exposed concrete surfaces. The roof covering the square prayer hall is capped by a series of skylights arranged in a grid that filter in natural light. This courtyard is designed as a fully transparent architectural feature rather than one that is enclosed from the sides and serves as a transitional space that leads to the mosque’s prayer hall.

Thin marble slabs and three wooden doors separate the courtyard from the adjacent prayer hall. In the courtyard is a simple sunken water fountain that resembles a keyhole shape, located off-center to the southeast of the mosque’s central longitudinal axis. The courtyard is also unusual because the mosque’s minaret is located inside it, again off-center, but to the northwest of the mosque’s central longitudinal axis. In recognition to the award’s origin, the first edition covered mosques exclusively in the Kingdom.