As the new school year kicks off, we reflects back on last years " Expanded Mosque Studio" at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where our founder, Maryam Eskandari, was a guest crit and the studio was coordinated by Ziad Jamaleddine & Makram el Kadi of L.E.FT.
"In past Islamic societies, the mosque as a place of worship has always been closely assimilated with the daily life of the Muslim community. The social functions of earlier mosques were numerous and essential; and the mosque’s physical integration in the urban fabric made it a place of cultural exchanges and not merely a space of worship.
Unlike the church, the mosque has historically demonstrated the potential to combine and switch in-between a secular and a religious function without losing its sacred qualities. From the two possible translations of the word Mosque into Arabic (Jamee or Masjid), a difference is emphasized between the Mosque as a community center (Jamee, place of gathering) and the Mosque as a purely praying facility (Masjid, place of prostration). Given the need to reinvent the role of the mosque in contemporary society, students will be asked to research and formulate programs that could be added to its religious function. A new hybrid and contemporary expanded understanding of its program should be put forward; one that redefines the mosque beyond its current limitation to liturgical functions to become more attuned to the functional needs and spiritual desires of contemporary societies."
Columbia University The Expanded Mosque: Advanced Option Studio/ Fall 2014