The New Mosque Project In Cambridge, England

The UK's First Green Mosque, Cambridge
Reproduced with permission.

The planning for a new mosque began in 2007 when the existing Mawson Road mosque began to experience capacity issues, with latecomers having to pray on the street. In 2008 the Muslim Academic Trust secured a new site within easy reach of where Cambridge Muslims live and work. The site is currently vacant and located to the southeast of Cambridge on Mill Road, and has a total site area of 4,355 square metres.

Key criteria for the new mosque included:

  • preserving and enhancing local amenity

  • integrating the proposed mosque into the site's context and with the local community

  • providing a sustainable development

  • delivering a positive design impact

Design images  © Marks Barfield Limited 2012

An architectural competition was held to find the architects who could best meet the functional design and planning requirements for a new mosque, to accommodate up to 1,000 worshippers.

The main building uses comprise:

  • prayer hall

  • education / meeting rooms

  • restaurant / café

  • 2 residential dwellings

  • underground car park

Design images  © Marks Barfield Limited 2012

Design images © Marks Barfield Limited 2012

The design concept developed from the concept of a calm 'oasis', with the building set back from Mill Road to create space for gardens.

The design for the proposed mosque has been submitted to Cambridge City Council for planning permission. It has been developed from the concept of a calm 'oasis', and is set back from Mill Road to create space for an Islamic garden at the front with new trees creating a green edge around the entire building.

Design images  © Marks Barfield Limited 2012

The mosque has high levels of insulation and natural daylight, passive cooling, efficient heating, and 80 spaces in an underground car park

The garden will provide a welcome sanctuary for both the casual visitor as well as encouraging a more contemplative frame of mind for the worshipper on his or her way to the mosque. It will be planted with an informal mix of shrubs and herbaceous, evergreen and deciduous, providing all-year interest. There will be seating as well as bicycle racks for visitors. The public art for the mosque will be original, of high quality, specifically designed, and embedded within the overall design of the mosque. It will draw on universal principles that lie behind all Islamic art. The artwork, internal and external, will be capable of being enjoyed and shared by all members of the community, such that it contributes to the creation of a place of character with a distinctive local identity and a friendly focus.

Design images  © Marks Barfield Limited 2012

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