Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Mosque UAE in Dubai, United Arab Emirates by WEYELL BERNER ARCHITEKTEN
June 7th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: WEYELL BERNER ARCHITEKTEN
`Enclosed space, defined by walls, arcades and moulds is the most important element of Islamic architecture` (Yaqub Zaki)
An open welcoming place
Open to all cardinal directions, the building and its internal arrangement of spaces aim to welcome and host people. It is configured as an all day municipal institution for public, religious, educational and social facilities. The chosen radial liturgy adopts the equipoise of traditional Islamic architecture.
Several passageways lead into and through the building. Informal communication and exchange of thoughts happens naturally within various architectural spaces. Differently dimensioned gather and recreation areas give privacy and comfort to small or larger groups. Circulation between these zones is possible and intended along the central main prayer hall.
Inspired by infinite patterns of the 12th century, craftsmanship and atmosphere it creates both an indigenous and a sensuous architectural impression.
Natural building materials
is used for all vertical construction. This traditional low cost material consists of a mix of 70% gravel and 30% clay and should be available directly on site.
All walls are designed in a way a mechanised rammed earth construction method can be used, so the process can be accelerated to 2h per m3 per person. Secondary material can be held to minimum with the assignment of climbing formworks.
Being surrounded by earth a natural, balanced atmosphere is generated.
All horizontal components are built in precast concrete. Ceilings and Roof Slabs can be produced time efficient while the walls are erected on site. Precast concrete is an often-used construction material in Dubai (e.g. Metro).
Tradition and High Tec
Although seminal technologies are used, the building is based on traditional elements of sacral and vernacular Middle East architecture. Technology helps to calculate and optimise traditional functions like the internal air circulation and climate, so only a minimum of service installations is finally needed.
IT-developments and mechanised methods allow a variety of new possibilities for on site construction. It is intended to use these options on site to treat the surface and generate openings into the rammed earth structure (drill, stack, mill and/or cut).
Internal spaces, generated with pure materials earth and concrete only, light is a powerful instrument to create unique atmospheres. Three characters of light are used to give different spirits to each room
Rooms connected to both, the internal flow of spaces and the external world. Depending on the cill height of each window (e.g. floor level at women’s room first floor or 4m above ground in the public library), direction and external objects (tress, neighbors) views are guided.
Traditionally used in the main prayer hall, where no horizontal light enters the room but ornamental openings at roof level connect to the sky above.
Several rooms have an introverted character with no visual connection to the surrounding (e.g. tearoom). Perforated walls with ‘light holes’ generate a bright, breezy and comfortable atmosphere distant to the outside world.
A simple palette of materials is used for the internal surfaces.
In most of the internal spaces rammed earth walls remain ‘as build’. As a relict of the construction process horizontal reliefs create the patina of each wall. In some rooms earth wall plaster can be used to create a more homelike atmosphere.
Most of the areas (main prayer hall, restaurant, entrances) will have a 12cm rammed earth floor. Without any binder this floor can be made joint less with a polished finish. Self made fired clay tiles are used for all other areas.
Mud shingles are on top of each outer wall to prevent from erosion. These tiles are also layed on the concrete roof with a distance of 4cm to allow an air circulation underneath to prevent from overheating in summertime.
Using traditional cooling and isolation techniques the building adapts perfectly to local condition and has an excellent eco-balance. Thick walls ensure excellent insulation and a natural regulation of the internal humidity. Traditional `Air-circulation-chimneys` guarantee a convenient atmosphere at summer time.
Energy consumption through the construction process and also to run the building afterwards is minimized.
Martin Rauch is the most acknowledged expert for rammed earth constructions in Europe. With his company ‘lehm ton erde’ he realised projects all over the world. Martin Rauch advised us through the design process and will be our consultant throughout the construction period.
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