A team of collaborating Italian architects is sharing with us their rather unusual spin on mosque design. The solar panel-covered "Wall-Dome" concept was the group's entry to the highly debated architecture competition to design the Central Mosque of Prishtina, Kosovo (previously on Bustler). The team includes the architects Paolo Venturella, Angelo Balducci, Luca Ponsi, and Paolo Gaeta.
Project Description from the Architects:
The project aim is to create a monumental and iconic building for the city of Prishtina.
It is a monolithic building that become a urban fulcrum for the Dardania neighbourhood, in the south of the city.
The idea is to merge the two main elements of the mosque: the "Kiblah Wall" and the "Dome".
The first indicates the direction where to pray and the second creates the huge space where people feels in the same community.
From a geometric point of view the mosque can be seen as a sphere that comes out from the wall, but at the same time as the community facing the Mecca. This represents the link between the divine element and the prayers.
The prayer hall is divided into two separated rooms in order to organize a smaller area to pray from Monday to Thursday and a bigger one to fit more prayers during Friday and festivals. Both spaces are designed on multiple levels to accomodate men and women at different levels.
The access is at the underground level where ancillary spaces are placed and the entrance to the Mosque is at the ground floor. In the rest of the underground areas are educational, social, administrative and commercial areas, separeted from the sacred space above.
The shape of the whole envelope is designed as a "double-skin" that generates a circular space all around the prayer hall. In this space are circulations and the technological energy solutions.
The exterior skin is made by a series of louvers covered with a thin photovoltaic film system that harvest energy for the use of the mosque and the other services.
Taking advantage of the spherical shape, these solar panels face the sun rays during the day from the morning to the end of the day. The curved form guarantees a surface perfectly oriented to the sun during all the day so to optimize the radiation of the sun.
These tilted shaders avoid the direct passage of sunlight creating indirect illumination and allow the view to outside.
The project also uses a passive energetic approach thanks to its orientation.
The Kibla wall, that is south oriented, works as a huge greenhouse element that captures heat and releases it to the interior when needed in cold periods.
Since the project requires four levels of underground parking is also designed a geothermic energy system that provides for either heating or sanitary purposes.
The new Mosque establishes a urban icon that welcomes muslims faithfuls and other users or turists creating a unifying space for all.
Design Team: Paolo Venturella, Angelo Balducci, Luca Ponsi, Paolo Gaeta
Find also drawings and plans in the image gallery below.