Architecture, KAFD Grand Mosque, Middle East, Mosque design, Omrania, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, WAF 2017, World Architecture Festival, World Architecture Festival shortlist Middle East

Omrania-designed KAFD Grand mosque is shortlisted for WAF Award

Saudi-based firm Omrania’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) mosque in Riyadh has been shortlisted for the 2017 World Architecture Festival awards  under the religious buildings category.

Image by Tamara Hamad/ Omrania

The contemporary mosque is located in the heart of the Financial District, and is inspired by the geometries of naturally occurring “desert rose” sand crystals.  The building is further landmarked by two sculpted 60m minarets.

The three-level building, 6,000-square-meter mosque features a column-free prayer hall with a floating mezzanine and filtered natural light.

Image by Faisal Bin Zarah/ Al Ra’iadah Investment Company

The building emerges at the convergence of three of KAFD’s ‘wadis’. In KAFD, the wadi is represented by a submerged public realm which is the shaded and pleasantly landscaped pedestrian linking element to the overall masterplan. As such, the building is a hidden gem as viewed from the wadis.

The building is also viewed predominantly from above (from the neighboring buildings) and thus the roof represents the 5th elevation.

The building has been meticulously placed over an urban plaza.  The plaza provides a temporal public realm and amenity to the district and serves as an outdoor prayer extension to the mosque during religious celebrations, the architects explain.

The skin is a tessellated stone, which enhances the notion of crystals in keeping with the design principles for KAFD as a whole, and in so doing complements the Henning Larsen masterplan.

The final award winners will be announced at the World Architecture Festival in November.

Sharjah’s Mleiha centre was also shortlisted for WAF award, alongside a number of other projects in the Middle East region, including Kuwait, Palestine and the UAE.

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