Architecture & Design

Musalla of Al Hosn ... A+ Architizer Award winner.

Musalla of Al Hosn ... A+ Architizer Award winner.

Abu Dhabi mosque wins global recognition

September 2020

Abu Dhabi’s global reputation for excellence was further enhanced this month after the iconic Musalla of Al Hosn site won yet another prestigious award for its world-class architecture.

The Musalla (Mosque) was chosen as the first prize winner of the international architecture A+ Architizer Award in the Internal Design and Creative Ceilings category, triumphing over international projects from around the world.

The Architizer A+ Award, which focuses on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture, is the world’s largest architectural awards programme, featuring thousands of contestants every year and attracting more than 400 million visitors to its website.

The award’s mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and to champion those products that are integral to bringing inspiring buildings to life.

The Musalla of Al Hosn site has won the top spot in the cultural category, triumphing over shortlisted competitors from Detroit in the US, Lisbon in Portugal, as well as Beijing and Hefei in China, says the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

The winners for the 2020 edition were selected by a panel of expert judges and rated on parameters that included harnessing cutting-edge approaches, materials and technologies to build safer, cleaner and more resilient spaces for generations to come.

“The Musalla at Al Hosn site has already received global recognition for its creative design, and this latest award from the prestigious Architizer Award further validates DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to excellence in our initiatives,” says Saood Al Hosani, Acting Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

“Al Hosn is a physical manifestation of the emirate’s heritage and its link to the past. The Musalla, however, represents a wonderful symbol of the emirate’s continuous cultural growth, and DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to both preserving the past whilst looking to the future,” he notes.

The unique and modern architecture of the Musalla aims to complement and enhance the most culturally significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi, whilst promoting it to a larger global audience and making the legacy of the emirate accessible to the world, he adds.

The Musalla constitutes an important element within the new cultural landscape that is part of the comprehensive revitalisation masterplan for the heritage site surrounding the Al Hosn area, says Al Hosani.

The prayer hall consists of a series of small, interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure pushed halfway into the park-scape’s water feature. It was the interior design, however, that caught the A+ judges’ eyes, with its suspended ceiling with circular openings punctuating the otherwise closed spaces as skylights.

Combined with pendant lights, they appear as abstract star formations that evoke associations to the region’s heritage of stargazing for navigation.

The concrete ceilings of the entrance hall and ablution spaces are contrasted in the prayer halls by wooden formations with copper-clad insides, which create endless reflections of light linking the ceiling detail back into the overall scheme of the project, much like a fractal, says the official.

The Musalla has previously won  the first prize award in the category of Completed Building - Religion at the World Architecture Festival 2019, held in Amsterdam last December, he concludes.  

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