Continuing on with our unusual mosque series, the spotlight falls on The Islamic religious and cultural centre of Ljubljana. Building completed in 2020.
The building consists of different complexes, one being a Mosque, which is the first mosque to be built in Slovenia. Other buildings comprise a religious school, a cultural and office program, an apartment building for community employees and a restaurant.
Designed to be a central hub, the architecture goes against the typical stand-alone Mosque feature and incorporates unique design features within.
Designed by the Bevk Perović architects, the centre is located in an area close to the city centre, yet full of contrasts, in a fragile undeveloped state.
The ‘specificity’ of the new location for the Islamic Religious and Cultural Centre was positioned purposefully by the designers. The abandoned and undeveloped area near the city centre has an urban future.
Similar to its historical forebears—the mosque complexes in 19 century Sarajevo are an example of how this complex may change the area of Ljubljana. Mosque complexes were built by wealthy donors, and served as the starting points, the “seeds,” for the development of the new parts of the city.
The centre’s new structures are placed as independent, stand-alone structures that encircle the core square space with a mosque at its centre. They surround the mosque building while simultaneously providing views of it from all sides through the spaces between them.
They are simple volumes that are constantly directed towards the “outside” world with their individual programmes.
A description of the project by the architect, Bevk Perović, is as follows.
‘The mosque, sitting on and opening fully towards the square to allow for the extension of the prayer space on the outside during large gatherings of congregation, is the central element of the new complex.
“Rather than following obvious historical precedents, as well as the recent iconographically obvious examples, it is conceived as a steel structure – a 32/32/24 metre box constructed of 1-meter (45cm) deep and only 2 (8cm) centimetre thick steel latticework, filled with white concrete on the lower part, and transparent glass on the upper part, allowing for the sun to flood the interior space.
“The cupola – the central element of the mosque – rather than topping the space, hangs suspended within its interior.
“As a representation of the sky in historical examples – it is made of transparent blue textile, the flimsiest and most fragile of materials, the material which in Islam has a long and rich history – starting from the Kiswah of Kaaba to the portable tent-mosques of Iran.“