Perforation Wall Series 4- Using natural light to create extreme light and shadow

Late Mohamed Abdulkhaliq Gargash Mosque

Location: Dubai

Dabbagh Architects lead by Principal Architect and Founder - Sumaya Dabbagh, completes the Mosque of the Late Mohamed Abdulkhaliq Gargash (Dubai, UAE), a contemporary place of worship that is quietly masterful in its use of form, materiality and controlled natural light to evoke a sense of calm and spiritual connection and transition the worshipper from outer material world to inner sense of being. The mosque is one of the first in the UAE to be designed by a female architect.

Natural light is used as a tool to enhance a feeling of spirituality, the connection between the earthly and the divine, and to mark the worshipper's journey through the building. Scale also plays a role in creating this sense of sacredness.

Starting at the mosque's outdoor entrance, perforated shading creates a threshold of perforated light leading the worshipper to the ablution area where physical cleansing invites the clearing of the mind and preparation for prayer. The route continues through to a lobby space where further shedding of the material world takes place through the act of removing one's shoes.

Once inside the prayer hall, the visitor further transitions to a contained space where reading from the Quran may take place before prayer. All the while, the quality of light from one space to another changes to enhance the preparation process, so that when the worshipper finally enters the main hall, they are ready for prayer.

This is done in three ways: vertically, via the perforated dome to enhance the spiritual connection to the heavens, the shafts of light from the narrow openings on the sides further create a sense of illumination from the divine; indirectly, behind the Mihrab to highlight the point of focus in the prayer hall facing the direction of prayer; and, through a play of light from a series of small openings in the façade that follows the same decorative patterns of the interior.

The exterior paneling uses this triangulated pattern in recessed and perforated elements, which gives the building's skin a dynamic appearance. Internally, these perforations scatter natural light into the areas of worship with great control and care to illuminate the key spaces and create a calm atmosphere and sense of connection to the divine, as well as helping to cool the mosque's interior. The double skin dome also allows natural light to enter, filtering it through the internal decorative skin, which incorporates the same triangulated pattern as the rest of the building. This filtered light creates a soft naturally-lit prayer space tailoring to the introspective mind during prayer. The reinterpreted Islamic patterns and triangulated geometry harmonize throughout the interior as lines intersecting across walls, carpets and light fittings.

external view of the building in the night

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