Thursday, 16 September 2021

Cambridge Central Mosque is RIBA Stirling Prize finalist

Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects has been shortlisted for the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Skelly & Couch carried out full environmental and M&E engineering on the first ‘eco-mosque’ in Europe, one of an eclectic collection of six new-build projects competing for British architecture's most coveted honour. 

The shortlist was drawn from the 54 winners of RIBA National awards. 

Widely regarded as an exemplar of a 21st century religious and cultural building, the RIBA judges commented: "The building has achieved net zero carbon energy on site in use...The passive and active sustainable measures incorporated within the building meet and exceed some elements of the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets and other elements of the design have future-proofed the building to allow for predicted climate change."

"Water consumption is also low, meeting the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target and confirmed by meter readings. In the water-stressed area of East Anglia, this is particularly important. This project sees the transformation of an impermeable surface to a building with green roofs to assist with local surface runoff."

Reporting on the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist, Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian wrote: "The mosque is the list’s photogenic stunner, and the most likely to snatch the gong... it applies hi-tech rigour to the creation of a beguiling glade of worship. A grid of tall tree-like columns branch outwards, weaving into a filigree structural canopy that undulates above the prayer hall, echoing the form of gothic stone vaults, and filtering daylight from circular openings above. Featuring Cambridge Gault clay brickwork, patterned with decorative Arabic Kufic inscriptions, and ablution facilities worthy of a luxury spa, the £23m building is a compelling fusion of local and Islamic traditions, creating a powerful prototype for what a modern British mosque might be".

The 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced on Thursday 14 October 2021 at Coventry Cathedral, as part of the UK City of Culture 2021 celebrations.