Palm Jumeirah Gateway Mosque

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2008

The Palm Jumeirah Gateway Mosque is located at the gateway of the Jumeirah Palm. The triangular site is bounded by two highway bridges and is open to the canal separating the Palm from the mainland. Given the mosque’s program to accommodate 2000 worshipers and the site’s limited area, the traditional mosque arrangement – a roofed prayer hall abutting an ablution courtyard – could not be achieved. In the traditional mosque, the prayer hall is organized around a principal axis facing Mecca, with the mihrab at one end and the ablution courtyard at the other. At the Gateway Mosque, the courtyard with its ablution pool occupies the entire parcel. The mosque hovers above it, contained within a great spherical structure 38 metres (125 feet) in diameter, set on a series of concrete piers. The lower portion of the sphere is cut away by a great ellipsoid, and a catenary roof covers the prayer hall. The asymmetrical cut allows the Mecca axis to rise to the full height of the sphere, resulting in the profile of a rising crescent moon. A spherical dome is suspended above the catenary roof, enclosing the center of the mosque. The dome is clad in gold leaf both outside and within, and is penetrated by pins of light. At the meeting point of the roof and the sphere is a necklace of skylights, which allows daylight to enter along the entire perimeter of the mosque. The apex of the mosque 75 metres (246 feet) above sea level places it well above the surrounding buildings. From other parts of the city, the mosque is ever changing, gradually revealing the golden dome, transforming in the light and glowing at night, visible from miles around. A fountain placed at the bottom of the sphere creates a gentle waterfall into the ablution pool. The water descends once more to a second ablution area at street level. A museum celebrating the construction of the Palm is positioned across the access road, forming an amphitheatre that steps down towards the channel facing the city. Although the mosque is windowless, there is always within it a powerful sense of the surrounding universe, our planet set within the solar system in dynamic motion. In the words of the Koran: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and earth. . . .The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. Light upon light, Allah guideth unto His light whom He will.”

Project Type: Cultural

Size: 129120