London Eye architects to design new Cambridge Mosque
Award-winning architects Marks Barfield, working in association with Professor Keith Critchlow, have been appointed by the Muslim Academic Trust to design the new Cambridge mosque. Marks Barfield are internationally-renowned for striking projects such as the London Eye and the Kew Treetop Walkway.
‘Moving the mosque to this new location represents a hugely exciting opportunity for Cambridge. Working with Marks Barfield, we can create on the Mill Road site a superb place of worship to replace the overcrowded facility on Mawson Road.
‘This building will be truly inclusive, sustainable, safe, secure and respectful of the neighbourhood. It will be a landmark building which will inject new life into the Mill Road area of Cambridge of which the local and wider Cambridge community can be proud’.
Located a few hundred yards from the current Mawson Road mosque, in a predominantly residential neighbourhood, the new building will stand on the site of the derelict Robert Sayle warehouse, while retaining and enlarging the existing community garden at the front.
The new design has the additional advantage of including ample space for off road parking in a new underground garage.
Rising from 2 storeys to a maximum height of 3 storeys above ground level, the new building will be consistent with the height, scale and massing of the surrounding built environment.
The overall design for the site has been developed from the concept of a calm ‘oasis’, with the ‘trees’ set out on a generous 7.8 x 7.8 metre grid forming the main mosque structure. The concept will be reinforced across the site with about 20 new cypress trees creating a new permeable green edge around the building. The ‘oasis’ will offer a significant new open space in a built-up area of Victorian terraced houses.
The façade of the complex will be completed in brick, complementing the materials already used in the neighbourhood. Integrating site services, offices and residential accommodation the building will be set in a hard and soft-landscaped area. Car parking and mechanical plant will be located in the single basement level with bicycle racks at street level.
Inside, the new Mosque will accommodate a congregation of up to 1000 men and women. In addition to the Mosque’s dedicated areas (ablution, teaching, children’s area, morgue) there will be a café, teaching area and meeting rooms for use by the local Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
‘The new Mosque will be a real neighbourhood as well as a spiritual centre, easily accessible by public transport and on foot, with facilities for formal and informal community group meetings as well as a leisure destination,’ said Tim Winter.
Green issues have been paramount in the design. The building will be naturally lit throughout the year, very well-insulated and heated and cooled using energy efficient and locally generated energy from ground source heat pumps.
In the coming months the mosque project team will consult local stakeholder groups in the process of preparing the detailed scheme and planning application in 2010. The balance of the funding for the £13m project is being sought from a number of donors and benefactors.