[Author’s Note: This story was sparked by a prior one I wrote, so forgive me for the borrowing of the introduction].
Recent years have a renaissance in Islamic architecture. Muslims in Muslim nations and those planting roots in the West are redefining what a Mosque should look like. For instance, should minarets be included in the West where they are often models since laws on noises prohibit the call to prayer? Should Mosques be Arabesque in architecture in a world where only 12% of Muslims are Arabs? Should Mosques be traditional or modern in art? Muslims are settling a mix of the above and the new Mosques that have recently gone up are quite impressive.
First, there is the first Mosque ever designed by a woman in Turkey that mixes contemporary and traditional Ottoman art to create an incredibly Mosque.
There is a new Mosque in Rome than combines Islamic and Roman architecture with a naturalist feel in the form of tree-like stands:
There is the Eco-Mosque in Manchester, England. “Al Markaz al Najmi Mosque, Woodfold Ave, in Manchester flaunts solar panels, under-floor heating and low-energy light bulbs. It’s built with wood from renewable sources and reclaimed stones.”
There is the Assyafaah Mosque in Singapore: “which was finished in 2004, cater to the country’s multicultural population by creating an aesthetically neutral space, sleek and futuristic, where the island’s Malay and Chinese Muslims can both feel comfortable.”
There is the Floating Mosque in Dubai (to be completed by 2011). It is built on floating concrete and foam, and will be cooled by seawater pumped throughout the Mosque.
But the most incredible Mosque currently being built (the new Grand Mosque of Mecca design has yet to be reviled) is the $20 million Cologne, German Mosque.
[the] plan for the complex, due to be completed in 2010, calls for a piazza with a fountain and a cafe, designed to draw non-Muslims to the site. The local Muslim elders hope that, once there, visitors will browse in the library, check out the art gallery or spend in the shopping mall, which Böhm envisions as “a modern souk with the quality of the traditional souk.” The mosque’s prayer hall consists of shells of textured concrete connected by glass panels, to create “ideological and architectural transparency,” says Böhm. Far from a nod to tradition, the minarets are a declaration that the building is “not a sports hall, a concert hall or a museum, but a mosque.”