Baitul Futuh Mosque Administrative Building | The Plan
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Baitul Futuh Mosque Administrative Building

British Arabesque

John McAslan + Partners

Baitul Futuh Mosque Administrative Building
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -
IdealStandard has participated in the project

When designing for a community, a whole series of parameters have to be taken into account if the final result is to faithfully represent that community: not only the community’s self-image, but also how much of itself it wants to reveal to the rest of the world. It is a process the designer must have at its fingertips if the outcome is to be something more than a functional, esthetically pleasing building. The architecture produced must be a three-dimensional statement conveying a clear, consistent message for those who frequent the building and those viewing it from outside. Here, architecture must be an unambiguous text, giving rise to no misunderstanding by anyone, whatever their background or culture and whether or not they belong to the community in question. Far from easy when this kind of architectural brief involves social, educational or administrative buildings, it is doubly so in the case of a commission to design a place of worship.
The Baitul Futuh Mosque in the south-west London district of Morden is currently the largest Islamic place of worship in Western Europe, hosting over 10,000 worshippers under its 18 m stainless steel dome. It was built and belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community that fled to Britain on being ousted from their homeland. Erected in 2003 and paid for by contributions from the Muslim community, it was designed by Sutton Griffin, whose highly formal, linear program clad in white stone closely echoes the language of Muslim architecture. In 2015, a fire – caused by a short-circuit – broke out, destroying or severely damaging the mosque’s administrative offices, study and meeting rooms, and the community’s MTE television and radio studios, together with all the equipment. The mosque itself was unscathed. London’s Ahmadiyya community – whose motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None”, and whose charitable work with the needy not just in Morden but all over London is...

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