In April, after 10 years of anticipation, Cambridge opened the doors to Europe’s first sustainable Mosque. We were very curious to learn more about this ground-breaking space.
During Ramadan we made the trip to Cambridge as a family, and we had a brilliant day.
The Mosque is a unique space that each one of us enjoyed and immediately felt connected to.
From the outside, the mosque is instantly recognisable, whilst retaining a subtle elegance, charmingly blending in amongst the 20th century residential area where it stands.
Once in the grounds, we were captivated by the sense of calm that it exudes. Upon closer attention we noticed that this was because the space resembles the open air: the tall beams are trees and the use of glass cleverly lets in floods of natural light. The designers aimed to style the mosque upon ‘the gardens of paradise’.
This concept has been beautifully captured.
The building materials are completely sustainable; the entire structure being made from timber. As well as this, the mosque harnesses the elements; water from rainwater, electricity from solar panels and air sourced heating.
The mosque sets a precedent for sustainable and mindful architecture. It is still, however, true to its primary function as a central place of worship for its diverse community. The designers appear to have thought about every need.
There is car and bike parking in an underground car park, ample storage for coats, shoes and other belongings, bathroom footwear, towels, quiet rooms for families, outdoor seating, water fountains and even foot driers – yes foot driers!
Hence, not only is it a contemplative space that evokes a higher level attention to our roles as custodians of the planet, but also provides a space that is deeply welcoming, peaceful and comfortable too.
My children thoroughly enjoyed the space, the openness meant that they ‘explored’ both the inside and outside, they also did some sketching of the ‘trees’ and there were many inquisitive questions about the mosque and Islam in general.
The mosque is a very modern feat but completely true to the essence of Islam.
To learn more about this evolving project please visit: www.cambridgetrust.org
By Salma Shah