Sarish Younis

RUE DES MOSQUÉE | Marseille, France | Unit 21 | 2016

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Due to the rising population of Muslims living within the city of Marseille, there is urgent need for defined prayer spaces as most of the socalled ‘mosques’ are small converted apartments, cellar spaces or shop floors which are turned into a place of worship. An Imam from Marseille discloses that ‘more than 2,000 devotees squeeze into a small mosque especially on Fridays. They pray on any found space around the mosque, whether it’s a corridor or door steps and at times they even spill-out and pray on the streets’, and through this spillage tension between communities arises.
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Outside Marseille a Mosque is a shelter and a place of refuge from the turbulent life of the crowded city. Five times a day the mosque opens its interior courts to accommodate the prayer rituals and provide a spiritual and peaceful space for its devotees. It is a place of worship which is in opposition to a typical cellar mosque that we see in Marseille.
The Grand Mosque of Marseille, situated in 15th arrondissement has been on hold for over a decade due to its location it is often inaccessible for many city dwellers and workers in order for them to perform their daily prayer ritual. The Grand Mosque is impractical for daily use. Therefore Noaille, known as the belly of Marseille, is a place situated at the heart of the city and its community workers, and to propose a house of worship within this context reinstates the accessibility for all at all times. Most importantly this proposal aims to steer away from the closed-off and monolithically geometry and hope to create an atmosphere that unites all communities within the house of prostration periphery.
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Rue des Mosquée is a response to the dividing communities in Marseille, and provides a solution for over-crowded cellar mosque and the spill-out of devotes upon the street. The hope for this project is to marry these reoccurring issues in order to redefine the traditional mosque typology and its typical functions, and in conclusion it should create a communal conditions amongst the communities whilst providing platform for devotees to reinterpret the flexibility of prayer spaces.
The architectural composition engages with the traditional requisite of mosque making, yet responds in non-traditional manner in order to reinvent and revitalise the typical presumption of mosque architecture. The proposal sits inside the courtyard of residential houses, and for that the architecture is closely knitted with its surrounding context. The proposal take the informal and chaotic life of the street and the surrounding context and engage them with the formal programme of a mosque. It is through this process the proposal responds to the issues of spill-out and reunites the secular everyday culture with the formal conditions of a mosque, and this is where it becomes a place of exchanging cultures: Mirroring the Mediterranean.
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