Preston Mosque
Competition
Preston, England

2021

A sequence of volumes that gradually ascend through multiple thresholds and bodies of water to experience a lifting transition from the ordinary to the spiritual. An architecture that is constantly contained, avoiding all references to the city, seeking a sense of disorientation that inspires the user to rediscover their mind and their faith.

The process of designing a mosque is constantly dealing with the realm of opposites. Through a construction of concrete and stone we seek to inspire that which cannot be seen or touched. With a public space designed towards plurality, inclusion and equality we seek for individuality, introspection and intimacy.

We understand this mosque has to be founded on its roots and traditions but simultaneously needs to become an example for other contemporary public buildings. We seek for a mosque that reunites the user with his/her faith and context through a construction that responds and gets involved with relevant issues of our times. Mitigating urban sprawl, rescuing our green areas, and incentivizing outdoor activities have become essential towards building a brighter future. We see this building as a mosque but simultaneously as a community park. Architecture that inhabits the roofs and retaining walls to increase the city’s biodiversity and welcomes vegetated areas for the recreation and interaction of the community.

Along the idea of conceiving a contemporary mosque we designed two symmetrical pavilions that are totally independent and yet identical to allow for an undistinguished experience throughout the process of entering the prayer hall for both men and women. We acknowledge the importance of an equal right towards a spiritual experience between genders.

Preston’s new mosque will become a space that will grant tranquility and access to a vegetated landscape allowing a feeling of greatness and open long views. Sunlight shines on a hummingbird that is drinking from a jasmine leaf whose scent enters with the breeze into the prayer hall. Simultaneously, the sound of moving water. A spiritual parenthesis in a rushing city.

Architecture

Elías Kalach

Teddy Nanes

Team

Francisco Parra