Manhattan studio RUX Design have won a competition to design a mosque for the UAE with their open-air plaza called The Vanishing Mosque.
The design features an ablution pool beneath an open-air, triangular, stepped platform for prayer, surrounded by mixed-use buildings.
The colonnade arches and brickwork of the surrounding structures will decrease in size towards the space's apex, deepening the sense of distance looking towards Mecca.
Shaded by surrounding buildings and retractable sun-screens, the plaza will be used for prayer five times daily and as an open public space at other times.
RUX Design created the proposal for Traffic Design Competition Vol. 2 – Design as Reform, organised by Dubai gallery and studio Traffic, who will commission and build The Vanishing Mosque in the UAE.
Here's some more information from RUX Design:
NEW YORK DESIGN FIRM RUX WINS TRAFFIC’S INTERNATIONAL DESIGN
COMPETITION TO BUILD A MOSQUE IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
On June 1st, a star-studded jury panel chose The Vanishing Mosque by RUX Design as the winner of the Traffic Design Competition Vol. 2 – Design as Reform, in Dubai. The design was chosen from among ten international finalists (RUX was the only United States finalist) for the "Mosque Through Architecture" category.
"When we started the design process, we were imagining the mosque as a building," says RUX founder and director Russell Greenberg, 29. "By the time we were finished, we had designed an urban plaza, a symbolic and cinematic spatial experience between buildings."
The Vanishing Mosque is a sacred prayer space intricately woven into the fabric of a bustling city. Retail, cultural venues, apartments, hotels, and deep shaded arcades define the edges of its plaza. This plaza space is used exclusively for prayer during Salat, which occurs 5 times over the course of a day. During the rest of the day and evening it is open to the public as a social space for lounging, meeting, and chance interaction.
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"The Vanishing Mosque is meant to be experienced from a human vantage point and at human scale," says Greenberg. "It has no doors or walls. It is open to anyone and everyone at anytime, seamless with the streets and the pulse of daily life. We tried to insert the delicate traditions of islam into the kind of urban space that makes great cities, fosters a sense of shared identity, and helps people fall in love with their communities. What more could we ask from a mosque?"
The formal inspiration for the Vanishing Mosque design came from the need to orient the plaza in the direction of Mecca. The city floor and building facades of the plaza all bend and angle in unison, creating a dramatic forced perspective view "through" the city to Mecca. The construction of this forced perspective appears at all scales of the mosque design. For example, the arches of the colonnades as well as the marble bricks on the building facades get progressively smaller in the direction of Mecca so as to make them appear more distant than they actually are. Retractable shading structures which limit the harsh afternoon sunlight reaching the plaza floor are also designed to reinforce the sense of forced perspective. The angled facades as well as these subtler details all add up to the iconic "A-ha" vanishing point perspective, a transcendental glimpse of infinity.
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Competition judges included Alexander von Vegesack, the director of Vitra Design Museum, Renny Ramakers, the director of the Dutch design collective Droog, Dr. Sami Angawi, the founder and director of the Saudi-based Amar Center for Architectural Heritage, and Rami Farook, the founder of Dubai’s pioneering design gallery and studio Via Traffic (viatraffic.org). The Vanishing Mosque design will be commissioned and built in the UAE by Traffic and its affiliates.
ABOUT RUX DESIGN
RUX is an innovative Manhattan-based design studio that specializes in commercializing creative ideas. Since its inception, the firm has worked on projects ranging from the design of a luxury vending machine called U*tique, which launched at Studio BeautyMix at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, California in April of 2009, to Cameo by RUX, a line of personalized jewelry and limited edition art objects designed from the contours of faces.
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