Heart of Doha Daily Mosque
Team: Penn Ruderman (project coordinator), Cynthia Gunadi, Cheyne Owens, Meera Deean, Boulos Douaihy 2010
The mosque’s simple volume reflects the modesty of daily prayer. It is both welcoming towards the public and protective of the sanctity of prayer. It stands apart from the adjacent building while being integrated with the surrounding context. The volume’s simplicity evokes both a contemporary and traditional appeal. It is carved by a series of cuts that provide access at the base and bring in light from the top. These cuts also create minarets at the corners projecting toward the adjacent public spaces without protruding above the skyline of the city. The sculpted, intersecting vaults of the prayer hall create an inner space carved within the building’s volume, and with light washing in from the oculus above they evoke a feeling of peaceful contemplation.
The plan of the building follows the traditional layout of the Qatari mosque as described by the brief. It adapts this layout to the conditions of the site and to contemporary needs.
The building opens up at its ground floor to the main public space to the north and to the main passage on its east, leading to an L-shaped courtyard that is flanked with the ablution courts. The ablution courts sit below the cuts that define the two minarets, allowing light to wash down into these areas. The L-shaped courtyard includes all the necessary functions of storage for shoes and coats, reference area, and reception area. A curvilinear wooden wall is the threshold between this courtyard and the main prayer hall.
The prayer hall is a stark space with a sculptural vaulted roof that orients towards the qiblah and faces a double mihrab in the Qatari tradition.
The first floor is accessible either directly from the eastern passageway or from the northern public space. It consists of the women’s prayer hall and service spaces, both of which get ambient light from skylights above.
The apartment of the imam is located on the second and third levels on the northern side of the building and it includes reception quarters and an office on the lower level and family quarters and bedrooms on the top floor.
The goals of sustainability celebrate community and fosters a sense of responsibility towards society consistent with the teachings of Islam.
The building is designed to encourage this by the use of passive energy control systems to save energy. The cuts in the building help to capture the air flows on the site. Natural ventilation is achieved in the courtyard and prayer hall, which is also cooled easily because of the high ceilings and complementary mechanical cooling systems. A shaded interior courtyard cools the imam’s apartment by encouraging air flow. Balanced micro-climates are encouraged with these cuts.
The material choices for the building are sensitive to the region’s environment in their light color and local sourcing. These light materials help to avoid solar heat gain.
Skylights are used in the courtyard and the prayer halls to introduce ambient indirect light into the spaces. This is complemented by artificial lighting.
The building’s base is made of polished yellow stone. The top is made of rough textured stucco. These materials help to tie the building in its color palette to the surrounding proposed master plan structures, while also allowing the building to avoid the environmental impact of solar heat gain.
The courtyard floor and exterior walls are made of yellow stone. The ceiling of white stucco. The wall separating the courtyard from the prayer hall is clad with wood. The prayer hall floor is made of yellow stone. The wall base is yellow stone and the upper vaulted areas made of smooth white stucco. The women’s prayer hall is a white limestone floor and the walls white stucco. The imam’s quarters are finished modestly but according to contemporary standards of comfort. The floors are white limestone, the walls plastered CMU and white paint. The roof consists of cement pavers to insulate and protect the waterproofing and rainwater collection system. A series of louvers cover the courtyards and skylights over the lower levels.