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Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006

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Assyafaah Mosque, Singapore

Designed by Tan Kok Hiang and Forum Architects, this building provides a boldly modern face to Islam by creatively re-interpreting the traditional form of the arabesque - a universally recognizable symbol of Islamic Art and Architecture. Contemporary materials such as fair-faced concrete and aluminum (for the intricate arabesque screens) are used to dramatic effect.

By: Forum Architects

Architecture-Page | Assyafaah Mosque, Singapore by Tan Kok Hiang and Forum Architects
Traditional motifs are transformed and re-interpreted: (left) arabesque screens add an intricate porous layer to allow daylight and cross ventilation to extended prayer gallery (right) recessed mihrab in white aluminium panel with Islamic calligraphy cutout in the main prayer hall.

The Project

The Assyafah Mosque is a project that makes creative use of a contemporary interpretation of the arabesque, a universally recognizable symbol of Islamic Art and Architecture, to create an original identity for the modern mosque. The use of the positive arabesque, a double arabesque to make the notions of overlapping geometries more explicit and negative arabesques are seamlessly incorporated in the design of this mosque. The architects state that "the use of the arabesque patterns to symbolize the Quran's attributes provides a link to the past."

Elevation drawing - of the mosque showing the rich pattern of arabesque screens that wrap the building [opens in pop-up window - 26KB image]

The arrangement of spaces takes advantage of the site which is askew from the orientation to Mecca (the Kiblat) "to create more proportionate architectural masses as well as emphasize the segregation of different functions."

Plan of the ground floor - showing the orientation of the mosque with respect to its site, as well as the main hall with its ribbed and arched fairfaced concrete structure. [opens in pop-up window - 50KB image]

The finishes are infused with suggestions of the arabesque patterns, laid not in the traditional gridded fashion but layered with additional play of geometry. The patterns of the specially designed carpet in the main prayer hall suggests a multi-layering of patterns whilst serving as guides as 'safs' for the people who pray.

Architecture-Page | Assyafaah Mosque, Singapore by Tan Kok Hiang and Forum Architects
Prayers in the main hall in session on the custom made carpet with 'saf' line, with the Quran rack visible in the background.

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