The Brick Veil Mosque in Preston is an innovative architectural project designed to serve as an iconic place of worship. The mosque’s design emphasizes a combination of traditional Islamic architectural elements and British craftsmanship while introducing contemporary architectural elements. Here are some key aspects of the design and its impact on the community:
Iconic Design: The mosque is designed with an elliptical form that offers a dynamic architectural appearance, allowing viewers to appreciate it from various angles. This contemporary design is aimed at celebrating both Islamic tradition and British craftsmanship.
Brick Facade: The mosque’s most striking feature is its highly refined and pleated brick facade, inspired by the veil-like qualities of traditional Mashrabiyas. This intricate facade is designed to create a delicate interplay of light and shadow, reminiscent of traditional Islamic architecture, while also providing structural integrity.
Materiality and Identity: The choice of materials and the attention to detail in the exterior design aim to harmonize the new structure with the existing urban environment. The brickwork pays homage to the textile manufacturing industry that has a historical presence in the region.
Minaret Tower: The mosque’s minaret tower references the region’s iconic round-section cotton mill chimneys, thus connecting the building’s design to the local history and announcing its presence in Preston’s skyline.
Programmatic Sequence: The design retains the spatial richness and programmatic sequence typical of traditional mosques. It offers a carefully choreographed sequence from the moment of arrival, guiding visitors through various spaces.
Inclusive and Accessible: The design emphasizes inclusivity, offering separate spaces and routes for male and female visitors. Full accessibility is also a priority, with a concealed passenger lift to ensure that the facility is accessible to all.
Prayer Hall: The interior of the prayer hall is designed to be bathed in natural light, creating a contemplative and serene atmosphere. Slit openings around the building’s perimeter allow natural light to filter in, providing different lighting qualities throughout the day and year.
Community Impact: The location of the Brick Veil Mosque is expected to have a significant impact on the local Muslim community. It will be within walking distance for around 80 households and the closest mosque for approximately 250 households. Additionally, its location on the Guild Wheel will benefit users of the wheel.
Success and Civic Engagement: The project has faced challenges, including a central government review, but has succeeded in gaining approval. It represents the first mosque application in Broughton, serving as a platform for civic engagement, community cohesion, and dialogue with the wider community. The project’s core team has been actively invited to local village meetings and continues to build relations with the broader community.
The Brick Veil Mosque’s design is not only iconic but also reflective of the rich cultural and historical context of the region. It serves as a symbol of unity and collaboration between Islamic tradition and British craftsmanship, offering a unique architectural identity to the local community.