Islamic Architecture From Around The World:Cambridge Central Mosque

Updated: Mar 30

Read along to find out more about an award-winning Mosque in Europe.


The Central Mosque in Cambridge is the first ecological Mosque in Europe and the first custom-built Mosque in Cambridge, England. It began operating on 24th April 2019. Its mission is to meet the needs of Muslims worldwide by promoting good practice in religion, community development, social cohesion, and interfaith dialogue.


With a focus on sustainability and heavy dependence on green energy, the Mosque is the first ecological movement in Europe around a central theme of a “calm oasis” with “trees” to mimic Jannah, the Garden of Paradise.



The hallmark of the Cambridge Mosque is its wooden structure made from timber. Sustainable timber is an entirely renewable resource and significantly reduces the carbon footprint of any project. The pillars made in the form of “trees” are sufficient to support the roof in an interlocking octagonal domed structure reminiscent of the familiar English fan vault-and-gothic architecture as in the nearby King’s College Chapel of Cambridge. The timber used is bent and laminated, and these pillar trees are visible throughout the building.


The skylight is above the “trees” and illuminates the prayer hall with natural light. The octagonal geometric patterns have strong symbolism in Islamic Art, denoting abstractions and beautiful proportions. Complex geometric patterns made using simple but repetitive patterns can infinitely grow. Yet, the simplicity, symmetry, and proportions are balanced. These geometric patterns symbolize Allah’s swt infinity and perfection.



The hallmark of the Cambridge Mosque is its wooden structure made from timber.


The Mosque utilizes LED lights and solar panels. Renewable solar energy, along with highly efficient heat pumps, is used for heating and cooling purposes. The Mosque teaches the wider community to be responsible and protect the environment entrusted to us by the Creator by reusing water, rainwater harvesting, and natural ventilation.



Gardens with cascading fountains and domed prayer halls were used significantly throughout Islamic history.


As Abdal Hakim Murad, chairman of the Cambridge Mosque Trust, remarked, the Mosque has developed the concept of the British Mosque in the 21st century, a union of the historic and timeless with today’s technology. At the Cambridge Central Mosque, the goal was to build something unique using Islamic and British architectural traditions. The architects cleverly used yellow bricks that are common in Cambridge as tiles. The tiles were arranged in different patterns and with rotational symmetry conveyed a message in Kufic calligraphy: Say He is God, the only one.



Gardens with cascading fountains and domed prayer halls were used significantly throughout Islamic history. It reminds us of the bond between man and nature. Worshippers who visit the Cambridge Central Mosque also transition from the street through an Islamic garden. Then they go through a covered foyer and an atrium that mentally prepares them to contemplate on the upcoming prayer and the bond with their Lord.




Besides the Mosque’s dedicated areas for ablution, teaching, etc., there are cafes and meeting rooms that the local people can use. If you wish to pray or go to Jumu’ah, keep in mind that the Mosque can accommodate up to 1000 worshippers.


One of the project’s goals is to create one of the leading femalefriendly mosques in the UK. Marks Barfield, the chief architect, also considered this aspect when designing the space. “The Cambridge community hopes that it should be a very womenfriendly mosque, and its design allows it to be used flexibly,” Barfield said.


For instance, the “mashrabiya” panel screens separating the men and women in the main prayer hall are not permanent fixtures. They are movable. There are specific sections for women and children on the first floor as well. If the women are not comfortable praying behind the “mashrabiya” screen, they can pray upstairs.


When this project began, support came from the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Still, most of the donations came from Turkey.


The Mosque, recently nominated for the coveted Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects for 2021, won the People’s Choice and Client of the Year Award for 2021.

The Mosque, recently nominated for the coveted Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects for 2021, won the People’s Choice and Client of the Year Award for 2021.


@ahmet_ogly


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