Patterns of the sand dunes: The Al Dana Mosque by X-Architects
Client: Aldar Properties
Location: Abu Dhabi (AE)
With the Al Dana Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai-based architect's office X-Architects has envisioned a religious place that vaults the tension between architectural avant-garde and traditional Islamic architecture.
One of the basic principles of the project is to connect the religious context with harmonious integration into the urban realities of Abu Dhabi. The sahn – a walled courtyard canonical in Islamic architecture, surrounded on all sides by open arcades or porticoes – is conceptualised at this mosque as a publicly accessible place, creating an urban link between religious function and city life. The dome-shaped structure plays an important role in the mosque’s nocturnal lighting design as well as providing a light source for the immediate environment, while during the day a high circular window lets natural light into the building’s interior. The 2,200 m2 project was inspired by so-called ripple marks – the wave-shaped movements and line patterns often found in sand dunes.
The Al Dana Mosque’s design is characterised by the embedding of architectural tradition in a modern urban context. However, this connection is not to be understood as a dichotomy, but derives from an aspiration to reinterpret certain aspects of Islamic architecture without neglecting the essence of this architectural tradition.