No Minarets Competition Foreign Architects Switzerland
STOPP? IDEALIZE? SURRENDER? REGRESS? IMITATE? RATIONALIZE? DISGUISE? BURY? RETHINK? TOPPLE? INVERT? VEIL! VOID!
The first mosques had no minaret. What was once used to call for prayer is now merely a symbol. The banning of this symbol in physical and recognizable form requires its re-conceptualization. One could surrender and remove it, project it’s image, replace with massive loud speakers, or disguise as a high-rise structure. It is possible to seek radical new forms that bury, rethink, topple or invert. This solution proposes a veil- not unlike the one that covers a Muslim Women’s face. Switzerland has forced the Islamic architecture to now hide behind a veil, and this veil is a precise concrete box; ironically the vernacular of the nation’s avant-garde. Behind this veil is an empty un- occupiable void symbolizing what is missing in form but reinterpreted as program, procession and experience.
The cube is of the temple. It is self referential; an object.
The building leans towards Mecca and away from Zurich. The lean gives the cube orientation.
The ground is sunken to hide entry and preserve the integrity of the volume. Dense columns reference the first mosques. They force single file; to enter alone, only to come together in prayer.
The Minaret is a vantage point; a place
to call to prayer and a vertical line to heaven. What was once a space for one is now a space for all. A continuous slot for viewing and calling is made on three sides. Program is stacked to gain height.
The distorted concrete cube envelops the shape of the mosque. What better for the Swiss than a precise concrete box to veil the mosque and its empty heart.
The minaret is banned- it is now a void with a minaret’s projection imprinted on its interior surfaces. This mosque is left with an empty heart that is only visible at the two extremes: sunken earth and elevated ground.
The void is wrapped in a ramp/stair. The minaret typology is turned inside out and all that is left is its
spiraling vertical climb towards the heavens.
Light is sparse in the mosque and sunken hamam. Punches in floor plates bring light down, and humble translucent apertures of glass block pierce the concrete skin on three sides providing light to the triple floored social atrium. There is no view out