Faidabad, Uttara is an overcrowded suburb in Dhaka and is considered to be an economically-challenged area. Part of the locality is flood-prone and those who stay in the area only know about this problem. Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, built in 2012, is located in that area and today people from all around the country come to visit this mosque – some to offer prayer, some to see the structure. Do you know what’s the uniqueness of the mosque?
Most importantly, the mosque is designed by Architect Marina Tabassum in a country where women usually don’t enter the mosques for prayers. Tabassum, on the other hand, visited more than 100 mosques before designing Bait Ur Rouf Mosque!
Further, Tabassum’s design is also unique for challenging the status quo of traditional mosque design. Instead of traditional symbolism such as domes and minarets, the mosque relies on open space and the rich interplay of light and shadow to create a prayer space that elevates the spirit. There are clear indications that Tabassum was influenced and inspired by Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Building in Dhaka. In fact, in one of the interviews, Tabassum has admitted that she liked the way Louis Kahn used natural light as part of his design.
The Mosque was raised on a plinth on a site axis creating a 13-degree angle with the qibla direction, which called for innovation in the layout. A cylindrical volume was inserted into a square, facilitating a rotation of the prayer hall, and forming light courts on four sides. The hall is a space raised on eight peripheral columns. Ancillary functions are located in spaces created by the outer square and the cylinder. The plinth remains vibrant throughout the day with children playing and elderly men chatting and waiting for the call to prayer. Funded and used by locals, and inspired by Sultanate mosque architecture, it breathes through porous brick walls, keeping the prayer hall ventilated and cool. Natural light brought in through a skylight is ample for the daytime.
The mosque was completed in 2012 and has won Aga Khan Award in 2016.