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New Mosque in Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Competition, 2021

Renders: Oleg Stathopoulos

Our proposal for the new Preston mosque seeks to create a landmark of contemporary religious architecture inspired by both Islamic tradition and British design culture. The proposed monumental building is a stretched rectangle footprint contains a sahn, the prayer hall and all support spaces, whilst a minaret of translucent green glass, and a dome covered with sapphire-blue metal sheets, complete our proposal’s massing. Referring to the traditional non-permeable mosque facades, we minimise the number of exterior openings to enhance the monumentality of the building. We treat the shell of our building like a curtain engaging with the popular use of fabric in the Islamic tradition, from the Bedouin tents and the mosque curtains, to the characteristic black cover of Kaaba. Our proposal conceives the sahn and the men’s prayer hall as one entity, drawing inspiration from the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan in Cairo. This design strategy allows the sahn to be used as an expansion of the prayer hall, raising the overall capacity for men’s prayers from 300 to 454. The sahn is designed as a solar atrium that provides natural sunlight to the mosque interior; this covered courtyard refers to important moments of British design and architectural history such as the Crystal Palace, the glasshouses or even the academic quadrangles. Thanks to its glass roof, the sahn can function year-round, while sliding glazing panels can allow for natural ventilation and an open, airy courtyard.