The new Jumaa Mosque is within the Msheireb Heritage Quarter, one of the most historic parts of inner Doha. Close to the original Doha coastline, the area, and its immediate surroundings have always been the anchor of religious and political power serving the local population.
We have sought a fusion of highly elegant Modernism with a historically familiar arrangement of volumes, spaces, and thresholds whose strong sense of presence is made even more resonant by the use of specifically Qatari materials and architectural details. We have rejected pastiche. Our design concept is about a meeting of architectural cultures in which contemporary design is inflected with resonant marks of locality, and deeper Islamic history.
The perfect cube building consists of white stone and render which provides a strong and robust front with clean lines. Metal Islamic patterned gates enclose the entrance pavilion and support spaces including accommodation for the Imam.
Within the prayer hall a perforated, patterned roof allows dappled natural light to enter the prayer hall providing a contemplative space for prayer. A colonnade of stone wraps the courtyard on both sides, framing a perfect courtyard square. In its centre, a pond gives a sense of calmness and contemplation before the entrance to the Prayer Hall.
The form and configuration of the building is based on that of traditional Qatari mosques, which have for centuries used orientation, shading, natural ventilation and water to create comfortable environments for prayer. The design reflects the key principles of Islamic art and architecture - simplicity, functionality, spirituality, light, pattern, geometry and water. The plan form, based on a double square, follows classical Islamic precedent, as does the use of geometric patterns and designs, creating an elegant space with perfect geometric proportions, with pierced roof screens creating patterns of dappled light and shade.
Materials and methods of construction
The perfect cube building is constructed of crisp white stone. Metal Islamic patterned gates enclose the entrance pavilion and courtyard. Within the prayer hall a perforated, patterned roof allows dappled natural light to illuminate the prayer hall, providing a contemplative space for prayer. A colonnade of stone wraps the courtyard on both sides, framing a perfect courtyard square. A pond and rhyll create a sense of calm and contemplation before the entrance to the Prayer Hall.
The Mosque has been constructed using an in situ concrete frame with blockwork infill. Regional limestone is used as cladding and Qatari stone used as accent banding to the courtyard floor. Screens are cast bronze to create richness and depth. The Mosque has been designed to ‘LEED’ gold standard and utilises passive and active sustainable techniques including photovoltaics and solar hot water heaters. The prayer hall is designed so that no artificial lighting is needed during daylight hours.
The stone minaret is circular in section and tapers towards the top – this required that each course of stones needed to be cut differently to achieve the overall form due to its reducing radius.
Fitness for Purpose, Community Benefit
Our concept has evolved from the traditional Qatari Mosque and follows the principles of simplicity, functionality and spirituality, combined with a modern interpretation of materiality and order. Our aim was to develop a Mosque and Courtyard Square that create a welcoming urban island of architectural clarity and grace – a sanctuary for worshippers, a shaded calm haven for passers-by in the bustle of daily life in central Doha.
The Mosque’s location within the Msheireb Downtown Doha masterplan is at the heart of the Heritage Quarter, immediately accessible from surrounding museums, Cultural Forum and Eid Prayer Ground.
Team building, co-ordination + value engineering
The JMP team worked with local executive architects in the development of the Mosque. All Multi-disciplinary engineering services were also provided locally in Doha. This required careful coordination of information, and in particular MEP service, to achieve the final design.
Value engineering occurred at the end of each principal design stage to review the emerging design and ensure best value was being achieved in terms of the design, materials, specification and systems proposed.
Accessibility and future flexibility
The Mosque is fully accessible and inclusive. Level access is provided throughout. The significance of the Mosque as a place of community and prayer in the Islamic faith means it is unlikely to be adapted for other functions. However the design of the main prayer hall provides a significant column-free space, which allows a range of functions for community education and is therefore adaptable. The accommodation for the Imam and Muazzen is also column-free, facilitating future internal reconfiguration, if required.
The Mosque has been designed to BREEAM ‘Gold’ standards and utilises renewables such as photovoltaics and solar hot water heaters. The prayer hall is designed so that no artificial lighting is needed during daylight hours. The form and configuration of the building is based on that of traditional Qatari mosques, which have for centuries used orientation, shading, natural ventilation and water to create comfortable environments for prayer.
The Mosque is connected to the adjacent district cooling network, providing efficient and sustainable cooling. Window apertures are small or shaded by patterned screens. Deep reveals limit the amount of solar gain, reducing the cooling load required to maintain a comfortable internal environment.
John McAslan + Partners is a leading, award-winning international architectural practice based in London, with further offices in Edinburgh and Doha. An extensive portfolio of award-winning projects in the UK and overseas includes cultural, heritage, infrastructure, hospitality, commercial, residential, education, urban design and landscape sectors. Our international portfolio includes redevelopment projects in Moscow, the British Embassy in Algiers and the restoration of the Iron Market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as well as 16 projects in Doha, Qatar. The practice has won in excess of 90 awards, including some 20 RIBA Awards, and has been named Architectural Practice of the Year and World Architect of the Year on a number of occasions. The practice has won three Europa Nostra Awards, the EU’s Prize for Cultural Heritage, and is also the recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade).