Dabbagh Architects designs mosque in Dubai United Arab Emirates

Building a place of worship is an important challenge in which architecture becomes an expression of faith. The challenge is even more difficult for a female architectbecause, as we all know, even at the end of 2021, the world of architecture still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
Sumaya dabbagh, who founded his workshop Dabbagh Architects in 2008, is one of the few Saudi female architects of her generation and one of the few female architects to run her own studio in the Gulf region. She has received a number of prestigious accolades for her works, often culturally significant buildings that interact with their surroundings, such as the Mleiha Archaeological Center (2016), a curved sandstone structure emerging from the desert in the small town of Mleiha. , a UNESCO World Heritage Site. World Heritage Site. The project won an Architecture MasterPrize (2020), among other awards, and was shortlisted for the Aga Khan Awards (2018).
Now, Sumaya Dabbagh has completed a contemporary minimalist style mosque in Al Quoz, the industrial heart of Dubaichea, Dubai, commissioned by the Gargash family as a gift to the community in honor of the late patriarch of the family, Mohamed Abdulkhaliq Gargash.
At the heart of the design approach is enhancing the act of worship and the transitional journey through the building, preparing devotees for prayer and connection with the sacred. Skillful use of the architect day light illuminates the path of the faithful as soon as they enter the mosque, thanks to openwork elements creating a kind of threshold of light. As the devotees advance, ritual acts such as ablution and taking off shoes are accompanied by ever-changing lighting conditions to aid in the preparation of the prayer.
Sumaya explains: “Muslim prayer is performed throughout the day at prescribed times: at dawn, at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. This discipline creates a human connection with the natural rhythm of the day and night. The experience created by the design of the mosque seeks to enhance this connection through a controlled introduction of natural lighting ”. This is achieved thanks to the perforated dome, indirectly behind the Mihrab, which is the niche indicating the direction of prayer, and thanks to a series of small openings in the facade based on the same decorative patterns as the interior.
These decisions are underlined by the architect’s reinterpretation of Islamic geometry and calligraphy, creating a solemn atmosphere in the mosque. Opting for a simplified version of the mosque, Sumaya created an interior courtyard dividing the sacred and functional parts of the building and, unlike traditional mosque architecture, designed the minaret as a separate volume.
The intrinsic sustainability of the mosque is expressed through the use of local materials and labor: Oman stone and concrete, aluminum, cladding, carpentry and ceramics from the Arab Emirates. The result is a place of worship of great beauty and serenity which accompanies the faithful on an interior journey towards spirituality.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Dabbagh Architects
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Year: 2021
Images: Gerry O’Leary

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