Marina Tabassum becomes first architect to win Jameel Prize for mosque in Bangladesh

Architect Marina Tabassum has been announced as a joint winner with Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar, of the Jameel Prize 5, the first architect and building to receive the accolade.

Marina Tabassum and Mehdi Moutashar winning Jameel Prize 5. Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tabassum received the award for her design of the Bait ur Rouf mosque which was built in 2012 in Dakha, Bangladesh, which was presented during a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Bait ur Rouf Mosque. Photography by Rajesh Vora. Image courtesy of: AKTC/Rajesh Vora.

The judges expressed that although the finalists work in two different fields, both had shown “the same combination of lucidity and sophistication in drawing on Islamic tradition”.

Photography by Rajesh Vora. Image courtesy of: AKTC/Rajesh Vora.

The Bait ur Rouf mosque is inspired by medieval Islamic architecture and celebrates traditions of Bengal. The religious space becomes both animated and contemplative through the play of geometry, abstraction, light, air, and water.

Photography by Sandrodi Carlo Darsa. Image courtesy of MTA/Sandrodi Carlo Darsa.

Featuring an intricate geometric layering of space with a square prayer room contained within cylindrical walls, the interior space is enclosed by a square, terracotta exterior – all build using local materials.

Photography by Sandrodi Carlo Darsa. Image courtesy of MTA/Sandrodi Carlo Darsa.

The space has been created for meditation and prayer; with funds raised by the architect’s grandmother and the local community in Dhaka, functioning as a spiritual refuge in an urban city.

Photography by Sandrodi Carlo Darsa. Image courtesy of MTA/Sandrodi Carlo Darsa.

Photography by Hassan SaifuddinChandan. Image courtesy of MTA/Hasan SaifuddinChandan.

Bait ur Rouf  was also one of the recipients of the 2016 Aga Khan Award. 

Launched in 2009, the Jameel Prize was conceived after the renovation of the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art and is supported by the Art Jameel organisation.

Recently Art Jameel announced the development of a new creative hub in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, designed by IBDA Design. 

The organisation has also announced plans for an arts centre in Dubai, designed by Serie Architects, set to open in the winter of 2018.

An artwork by Jordanian design duo Naqsh Collective had been shortlisted for the fifth edition of the prize.

Main image: Photography by Sandrodi Carlo Darsa. Image courtesy of MTA/Sandrodi Carlo Darsa.

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