Emre Arolat Architecture unveils the concept for Nora Mosque and Community Centre in Ajman
Turkish firm Emre Arolat Architecture (EAA) founded by Emre Arolat and Gonca Pasolar with global offices in London and New York, has been appointed to design the Nora Mosque and Community Center in Ajman, UAE. Commissioned by a prominent local businessman as a tribute to his late mother, the project spans an area of 10,000m2. The firm has also designed the award-winning Sancaklar Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
“The Nora Mosque and Community Center captures both the spiritual and environmental context of this important site in Ajman. In carrying forward the wishes of our client, we focused on creating a place of honor and memory through the design of not only a respectful house of worship, but also a place where thoughtful contemplation could be experienced, both inside and outside of the newly created structure,” says Emre Arolat.
Instead of competing with the heterogeneous building stock nearby or with the oppressive impact of the giant wall formed by the high-rise residence blocks on its north, the complex was designed with an approach that creates its own unique environment, a composition of shell-like platforms deriving from the earth below.
The multi-use complex, with a mosque for 2,500 people, several halls for various social and educational activities, recreational and service areas, and a semi-closed parking area, was designed to form a significant public space for the city’s residents. In the project site, which is surrounded by roads on all sides, an internal street was formed to connect the north-south roads, which also enables the prevailing wind from the same direction to permeate the complex and can be read as the main vertebra of access. A major requirement was that this street help alleviate the effects of the burning sun and form a cool canyon environment, presenting an expansive spatial experience to the user with its dramatic and alternate perspectives while connecting the various functions contained within the building complex.
The mass composition transforms the shell-like platforms into walkable surfaces, by merging the conventional roles of the basic structural elements with one another, turning the walls to a roof, and the roofs into pedestrian pathways. Raising slowly from Sheikh Rashid Bin Humeed Road on the north, one of the main arteries of the city, the sloped surface is partially landscaped to provide shaded areas leading the user to the highest level of the building. The top level is planned as a meditation terrace with its sea view to the north.
EAA’s projects have been displayed in many notable institutions, such as the Design Museum and Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Royal Institute of British Architecture, and at numerous International Architecture Biennales in Venice and Istanbul. The firm’s work has received international recognition, including selected work with the Mies van der Rohe Award, the Aga Khan Award, and the RIBA Award for International Excellence 2018.
Photos: Emre Arolat Architecture