Emre Arolat’s Underground Sancaklar Mosque in Turkey is Like a Cave

mosque, architecture, green building, sustainable development, Istanbul

We’ve featured some of the world’s most beautiful mosques on Green Prophet, but this is the first that resembles a cave. Slated for a prairie landscape in Buyuk Cekmece on the outskirts of Istanbul, the Sancaklar Mosque by Emre Arolat Architects is designed to offer genuine reprieve from the growing madness of urban life.

This is achieved in part by surrounding the park’s higher elevation with tall walls that draw a distinct boundary it and the surrounding landscape. And then natural stone steps lead to a peaceful underground space that promotes a heightened spiritual experience.

mosque, architecture, green building, sustainable development, Istanbul

A long canopy is the only part of the mosque that is visible from outside of the park. On one hand this is perhaps a deterrent, but on the other, it gives people a chance to shut out the hustle and bustle of an increasingly fast and noisy world. It also minimizes site disruption, since the building blends in with the topography.

Slits and fractures along the Qiblah wall optimize daylighting in the cave-like interior and enhance the directionality of prayer space, according to the designers.

mosque, architecture, green building, sustainable development, Istanbul

Although the steps and interior walls are made of natural stone, a thin reinforced-concrete slab covers the mosque and forms a 6 meter long canopy, which also provides shade.

mosque, architecture, green building, sustainable development, Istanbul

As centers of community and spiritual leadership, mosques can definitely sway public opinion, so we think it’s crucial that Emre Arolat has opted for a simple, back-to-nature approach to this rustic design, which prioritizes all that is divine and spiritual over material excess.

Other mosques that are providing environmental leadership include a few in London that have initiated exciting beekeeping programs.

:: Arch Daily

More on Mosques Around the World:

World’s Most Beautiful Mosque in Malaysia is Vulnerable to Rising Seas

London Mosques Start Beekeeping Trend

Cambridge to Build Europe’s First Eco-Mosque

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