Basuna Mosque thumbnail 19 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 6 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 8 Essam Arafa

Works #770

Basuna MosqueRealized

Dar Arafa Architecture

Dar Arafa Architecture

Basuna Mosque thumbnail 1 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 2 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 3 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 4 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 5 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 6 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 7 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 8 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 9 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 10 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 11 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 12 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 13 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 14 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 15 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 16 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 17 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 18 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 19 Essam Arafa
Basuna Mosque thumbnail 20 Essam Arafa
Dar Arafa Architecture

Dar Arafa Architecture

Location Egypt
Year 2019
Categories Architectural Design  >  Public facilities

Description

For 300 years Basuna Mosque has been the main mosque in the village’s center, adjacent to the cemetery, serving as the main Friday & funerary Mosque. A flash-flood and a soil subsidence caused by the construction of a neighboring building, inflicted considerable structural damage rendering the mosque unsafe, and so it had to be demolished.

The new design aims at increasing the worshippers’ capacity quantitatively and qualitatively, by receiving female worshippers and offering general services for Muslims and non-Muslims.
The site is located in a hot and arid part of Upper Egypt, amidst a noisy, dusty and densely constructed area with mixed traffic of motorcycles, pedestrians, cattle and a makeshift small market right outside the main entrance. This posed a major challenge. The new building must offer peace and tranquility.

Approaching various challenges separately would make it impossible to arrive at a satisfactory solution so that the new building can offer peace and tranquility for its users. For example, if operable windows were used on the exterior to allow for cross-ventilation that would have meant poor performance in terms of noise, dust and odor control. The decision was to limit openings at or close to street level, to just the entrances, while tackling all these challenges at the roof’s higher altitude.

The main dome is constructed using Egyptian-made light sand block (0.5 ton/m3), decreasing the building’s own-weight, and thus decreasing the volume of the reinforced concrete elements. Its dimensions (100x200x600 mm) allowed for applying a special cutting list and a simple staggered tessellation yielding its unique aesthetic.

The mosque is a hybrid structure incorporating simple skeletal concrete with a roof structure featuring two unique domes and 108 typical pendentives allowing fresh high altitude northern breeze to filter into the mosque, indirect glare-less sunlight to naturally illuminate the interior, and rain-water to be collected and used for cleaning and watering plants. A special steel compass had to be devised to guarantee the meticulous spatial positioning of every single block.

The multi-purpose hall is designed to accommodate seasonal increases in the numbers of worshippers, during Fridays and the Holy month of Ramadan, as well as serving an array of activities all year round; temporary medical clinics, after-school and literacy tuition classes, etc...
This reiterates the original all-inclusive function of the mosque; a place for ritualistic worship but equally a service center that offers aid and refuge to its community regardless of religious affiliations.

All the materials were sourced to complement the environmentally sensitive approach governing the entire scheme.

The technical solutions, constructability manoeuvres and material choices were not thought of in a dry technical manner. They were deployed within a holistic strategy motivated by a strong commitment to a unified approach aspiring to achieve a balance that would suffice more than the technical level. The aspiration was to go beyond mere engineering innovativeness into the realms of fresh interpretations of architectural history, philosophy, semiotics and aesthetics.

This unison between the multiple facets of architecture, could not have happened haphazardly. This was made possible through a premeditated commitment to a number of concepts rooted in principles held by the architect as immutable and absolute, as applied to the ever-changing reality of time and space in a given moment in time and space.

The project gives the population a renewed sense of pride and confidence in their own heritage and tradition. A “Bilbao Effect” so to speak, albeit firmly rooted in Upper Egypt.


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