#0148 Reykjavik Mosque

Reykjavik, Iceland
Planning / Realized
2015-, competition
Félag Múslíma Á Islándi
1000 sqm
Mirza Mujezinovic, Anders Sletbak, Jonas Løland
Structural engineering: Florian Koche, dipl.ing/ Florian Koche AS

We believe that architecture is a product of society. It translates society's values, ideals and attitudes into built form. Building a mosque in Iceland is an ambitious assignment. The mosque through its architecture should portray the intertwining relationship between Islam and the local culture: instead of importing outdated orientalist models, the new mosque should propose a spatiality that builds upon both Nordic ideals and Islamic religiousness and spirituality. «White Mosque» is simple and prudent in its form, yet it creates sacredness through an intricate flow of spaces as it catches the softness of Nordic light. Reykjavik's «White Mosque» is a true Icelandic mosque.
The main volume is a white polished concrete shell that ascends in the direction of Qibla. It houses worship space, balming space, assembly hall, library and classroom, and as such, it highlights the mosque's two complementary roles: its performance as a social place and a place of religious congregation. By gathering these activities in one volume, we accentuate the relationship between sacral space where one cultivates one's relationship to God and every-day civic spaces where people meet, discuss and disseminate the knowledge and the matter of religion.

The worship space is geometrically formed yet spatially differentiated offering multiple scenarios for salat ceremony with few, some and many worshipers. Upon entering it, one passes by balming room, evoking the ephemeral nature of human's earthly existence. The worship space offers a sacral atmosphere, enhanced by the play of direct and indirect daylight and suspended candle-like lamps. Within the Nordic context, light is considered as something very precious, while in Islam the notion of light relates to a divine presence, as such light performs as an instigator within our project. A worshipper may see the sky as the light from north softly illuminates the interior. The hidden wall openings facing south channel indirect light, creating a divine experience, as the light source is obscured. The numerous candle-like lamps are suspended from the roof giving a sense of the descending sky. In addition, the big window at the classroom-library-assembly wall provides a direct view from the outside conveying the importance of knowledge and learning within Islam to the outside public.

Adjacent to the main white volume is the lava-brick volume with auxiliary functions such as entrance, lobby with cloakroom, office, kitchen and restrooms. In its junction with the worship space, the ablution facilities are placed as a leitmotif visible from the lobby. On the roof, Icelandic nature is brought in. We suggest the Garden of Eden, a green roof covered with self-maintaining local vegetation, visible both from the worship space and the outside surrounding context.

We have chosen not to propose a minaret as a part of our design. Rather, we reassign its symbolic realm as a local landmark to the white ascending roof of the mosque - drawing on the analogy that during the lifetime of prophet Muhammed the call for prayer was given from the roof of his house in Medina. In the context of Reykjavik «White Mosque» will perform as a discreet landmark, being strong in its presence yet apologetic to its surroundings.

White Mosque

Ground floor plan

Site plan


Concept diagram

Prayer hall