EAA – EMRE AROLAT ARCHITECTS
Photos courtesy of Cemal Emden, Thomas Mayer
Sancaklar Mosque located in Buyuk Cekmece, a suburban neighborhood in the outskirts of Istanbul, aims to address the fundamental issues of designing a mosque by distancing itself from the current architectural discussions based on form; focusing solely on the essence of religious space. The project site is located in a landscape that is isolated from the surrounding gated communities by a busy street. The high walls surrounding the park on the upper courtyard of the mosque mark a clear boundary between the chaotic outer world and the serene atmosphere of the public park. The canopy stretching out from the park is the only external architectural element. The building, located below this canopy, can be accessed from a path from the upper courtyard through the park. It blends in with the topography, leaving the outside world behind as one moves through the landscape, down the hill and through the walls to enter the mosque. The interior is a dramatic and awe inspiring place to pray and be alone with God. The slits along the Qiblah wall enhance the directionality of the prayer space, allowing daylight to filter into the prayer hall.
The project plays off of the tension between man-made and natural. The contrast between the stone stairs follow the slope of the landscape and the thin reinforced concrete slab spanning over 6 meters to form the canopy enhances this dual relationship.