A mosque in Turkey by Emre Arolat Architects has been shortlisted for the 2015 Design of the Year award.
The design team used light grey stone and reinforced concrete to construct the Sancaklar Mosque, which is set into a plaza made up of shallow terraced steps and feature a prayer hall in the style of a cave.
It is situated in Buyukçekmece, a suburb on the outskirts of Istanbul and set into a depression in the landscape, with only the stone roof and minaret visible from much of the nearby landscape.
“Sancaklar Mosque aims to address the fundamental issues of designing a mosque by distancing itself from the current architectural discussions based on form and focusing solely on the essence of religious space,” said the architects.
Pieces of stone set into the sloping terrain create rows of steps that lead down to the sunken building.
Grass has grown around the stonework, helping to integrate the steps and roof into the landscape.
A combination of concrete partitions, stone walls and tall box hedges screen areas of the gardens at the lower level, where stepping stones lead across a pool of shallow water to the entrance.
“The building blends in completely with the topography and the outside world is left behind as one moves through the landscape, down the hill and in between the walls to enter the mosque,” said the team. “The project constantly plays off of the tension between manmade and natural.
“The contrast between the natural stone stairs following the natural slope of the landscape and the thin reinforced concrete slab spanning over six metres to form the canopy helps enhance this dual relationship.”