Reflection Mosque / waiwai
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Text description provided by the architects. The Reflection Mosque in Dubai reinvents the role of the mosque in the city. Referencing the traditional Arabic mosque typology where there is a communal element, the mosque reframes spaces to encourage communal use alongside its purpose as a sacred worship space.
Situated in the dense Dubai cityscape, adjacent to the Coca-Cola Arena, the Reflection Mosque stands in stark contrast to its surroundings, presenting itself as the physical embodiment of spirituality, tranquility and community. The envelope of the existing mosque has been retained with the façade painted in reflective bright pastel green and the spatial arrangement of the prayer spaces has been preserved.
An important addition to the renovation is the colonnaded arcade or riwaq. Unlike typical mosque typology, the riwaq gently wraps around the mosque in a circular shape. A series of wide arches form the riwaq, inviting people and devotees from all directions. White perforated metal with small circular voids allows natural light to enter the depths of the space. The use of white extends to the tiling of the riwaq, further emphasizing the sense of openness and lightness. The combination of perforated metal and shape removes the dividing line between the mosque and the city and creates transparency between the exterior and interior spaces.
A new public space is established within the sahn or courtyard. Palm trees, straight water features leading to the main entrance, and seating promote an environment of tranquility. The sahn is a spatial metaphor where community, faith and the city connect and intertwine. The riwak and the sahn serve not only as circulation, but also as a place where visitors can pray, read, reflect and gather. On either side of the mosque, two minarets also clad in white perforated metal form the enclosures for the wind turbines that will provide sustainable energy.
At the entrance before the main prayer hall or haram, there is a transitional space between the external and the internal. The color and material palette of the mosque’s exterior identity continues inside. Haram is simplistic and minimal. The carpeted flooring is made up of bands of alternating shades of green that identify the prayer rows. Golden tones decorate the ceiling above the center of the prayer space. The mihrab indicates the direction of the Mecca of prayer and is where the imam prays. Calligraphy with ayahs from the Quran runs above the mihrab along the center of the ceiling.
The Reflection Mosque provides an environment where religion and the wider community can co-exist as well as an experience not only for worshipers but also for the city.