Fresh from the recent World Architecture Festival held in Singapore, is news that Turkey’s Sancaklar Mosque has been awarded the honor of the Best Religious Building for 2013. This impressive underground structure was designed by Emre Arolat Architects of Levent, Turkey.
The design of the mosque is a departure from traditional standards and has been built underground in Buyuk Cekmece, a suburb of Istanbul. The designers were able to successfully integrate the man-made materials with the elements of the natural environment by combining concrete slab and natural stone.
Beyond the walls that separate the complex from the nearby highway and neighborhood, all that can be seen above ground is the concrete canopy accessible from the upper courtyard. The remainder of the building is reached via natural stone stairs that follow the slope of the site down into the structure.
With its almost cave-like atmosphere, the slits and breaks throughout the Qiblah wall allow natural sunlight to enter the prayer hall is an excellent use of green architecture. The intent of the design is to shy away from status quo and provide a magical space unlike any other.