A group of students with headphones is sitting in a class room. Some of them are looking up distractedly through the huge glass window to the corridor as we pass. We are wandering about the convoluted building of the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies trying to locate the new Education city mosque. The floor plan showing emergency exits only makes us more confused.
The Education City Mosque is the second building we visit in Education City. Education City is a nearly 15 km2 large quarter in the west of Doha, destined to become a hotspot of international universities, research institutes, convention centres and museums.
Although some of the universities – most of them offshoot campuses of major US universities – have been there longer, the development started in earnest with in the early 2000s. The starting shot was the master plan by Japanese architect Isozaki Arata, who also built the Doha National Convention Centre overlooking the main boulevard.
Finding the mosque in Education City
Getting to the Education City Mosque was not easy for us. Doha is a city for cars – nobody seems to walk there! We had to cross several major building sites and a clogged multi-lane radial road. And then, we felt relief when we arrived at the huge asymmetrical shape that we recognised as the University Mosque.
The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies is part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University. It is situated east of the other universities and closest to the city.
Looking at the photos now it is obvious that we had not difficulty recognising it. That’s because the Faculty basically consists of several huge white blobs with two tilted spikes, the minarets of the stunning University Mosque.
Quite clearly, this is not only the most daring and unconventionally built mosque we have ever seen, but one of the most impressive examples of contemporary religious architecture in general that we have visited.
A ceiling full of stars
Built by the architectural team of Mangera Yvars, the mosque has all the typical features – minarets and a prayer room with a mihrab (prayer niche) and minbar (elevated preacher’s seat), a second floor women’s balustrade shaded from view, tables and bookshelves for studying the Quran, shelves for the shoes outside the prayer room … but the size and form of all these elements are daring and unusual. Among the most impressive details were the calligraphy and stars seemingly floating over the ceiling.
Indeed, you even get electronic counters instead of rosary beads for use inside the mosque.
Maybe it was because of the ongoing construction work and the general emptiness of the building? In any case, we were able to stroll on our own through the building and take a lot of pictures!
Isn’t it fabulous?
If you liked this post, see also our related post: Stunning contemporary architecture in Doha
NB: We were not sponsored to write this post. We organised and planned the whole trip ourselves.
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