For my senior project I decided to tackle a pressing issue that has intrigued me as a viable year-long research endeavor. Designing an Islamic center on its own poses various challenges: primarily issues of identity, modernity versus cultural archetypes and built-in
programmatic necessities. Aside from all this, I wished to explore if an Islamic Center could function in unison with another building typology, in my case high density housing.
The fundamental motivation for this clash of programs was to
establish a more or less “financially sustainable” solution to the current “beg as you go” model for non-profit religious
organizations. This motivation soon fell in the shadows and my
project became more about the social implications of naturally
living at the mosque. The already unrelenting needs of the typical housing project clashed with the seemingly particular architecture of an Islamic center, which many predicted would be a fatal
The formal solution adopted aims to allow for the best optimal space for both programs with one swift gesture. A solid mass pierced with two calculated voids which achieve two things: (1) allow secondary light and ventilation for a large number of living units and (2) provide opportunities to house religious program in the small and large “leftover” space not suitable for housing. The final rub in the formula is quite paradoxical, what seems like “junk space” crawling around the volume of the building is in fact the most articulated and dynamic space within the intersection...the exact kind of space you would want to achieve nearness to God.
Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US