Al Musalla (The Mosque) Al Hosn Area Abu Dhabi, The Capital United Arab Emirates
Al Musalla constitutes an important element within the new cultural landscape that is part of the comprehensive revitalisation masterplan for the heritage site surrounding the Al Hosn Area. The prayer hall consists of a series of small-interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure pushed halfway into the park-scape’s water feature. The water creates a natural privacy barrier to the public park to provide secluded spaces for worship while at the same time serving as a symbol of spiritual purification flowing around and in between the interior functions.
Each volume contains its own function so that the plan layout creates two mirrored flows, where female and male worshippers respectively progress along a sequence of spaces that create an immersive spiritual experience, following the ritual for prayer. Walking from the open park-scape along the narrow passages between the “rocks”, the noise and bustling life of the city slowly fades away and visitors enter the cave-like entrance halls, where you can rest and talk before prayers. An experience and atmosphere that refers to the Cave of Hira, where Prophet Muhammed received his first revelation. From here, one proceeds to the ablution spaces for washing and mentally preparing for prayer and then finally reaches the large prayer halls.
The park’s geometric shapes are continued in the interior design as a suspended ceiling with circular openings punctuating the otherwise closed volumes as skylights. Combined with pendant lights, they appear as abstract star formations that evoke associations to the region’s heritage of stargazing for navigation. The entrance halls’ and ablution spaces’ concrete ceilings are contrasted in the prayer halls by wooden formations with copper-clad insides, which create endless reflections of light linking the ceiling detail back into the overall scheme of the project like a fractal.
This project is considered as a cultural / religious / touristic iconic masterpiece in the heritage area in the heart of Abu Dhabi history. Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi initiated, built, preserves, supervises, manages and promotes this project like other major cultural projects in the Abu. Dhabi Emirate.
The Department of Culture and Tourism conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction, which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The organisation manages the emirate’s culture - tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and Louvre Abu Dhabi. DCT Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base. http://tcaabudhabi.ae/en https://visitabudhabi.ae/
Credits: - CEBRA - Arkitekt MAA/RIBA, stiftende partner | Architect MAA/RIBA founding partner - Mikkel Frost - Department of Cultrure and Tourism, DCT Abi Dhabi - Head of Architecture - Mark Kyffin