Every building structure has to be linked and related to the geographical and cultural aspect which surrounds it.

The strength of the relationship between the building and its surrounding establishes a one-time originality.

This is what separates the architecture from any other building.
Riyadh is a settlement of its own textures and conditions, dominated by the desert climate of Saudi Arabia. The settlement and the local constructions throughout Riyadh and Saudi Arabia has their own uniqueness.
This uniqueness can be explained as the intensive assembly of the densely-fragmented building fabric and the openings, in order to generate shaded spaces.

Climate - Building Relations
In hot climates, the way how the buildings relate to each other, the transition areas in between and the setup of the streets: all become extremely crucial. The forming of these spaces determines whether or not they will only be used for passing through.
Sun-proof, shaded and cool spaces: all have a positive impact on the environmental quality of the Mosque.

Architectural Character
The historical buildings around Riyadh are mostly made up of mud-brick or mud-plaster material. This architecture which was previously produced by using the closely found materials in the environment, effects the characters of the buildings built in today's world. The earth-colored texture produced with plaster, the repetition of this texture in different heights, the masonry walls formed due to the climatic conditions and the small openings are all the basic elements of the local architectural style. Especially the spatial effect formed by the unity of these textures and the dense settlement can be considered as the main characteristic of this area.

Mosque Architecture and the Scale Factor
Mosque, being a prayer hall has been constructed in different methods and in different types throughout centuries. Especially in Ottoman Mosques, it's possible to come across some basic strategies such as the hierarchical systems formed in order to relate the Mosque to the environment and to focus one's perception in the right way.
These strategies are;
-A central dome and smaller series of domes to transfer the load to the foundation.
-The descending form of the building in order to relate to the city scale and for partially reach human scale at some point.

The Dome and the Central Plan
Again in Ottoman Mosques, the most commonly used plan type is the central plan. The dome located right in the center determines the main prayer hall. The complementary areas are covered with small dome series in order to form a spatial hierarchy. The dome was then the only way to cover up large spaces with long spans. In this manner, the dome has mostly lost its load bearing value nowadays. But it's still possible to interpret it as the permanence of the historical continuity in terms of an architectural expression and a spatial perception.

The Design
The design, based on the analyses and the evaluations mentioned above, is formed on the question of whether or not it is possible to relate directly to the locational, geographical, climatic and cultural facts by re-interpreting and re-forming this relation. The settlement strategies in the environment, the commonly used materials and the generated spaces are the basic building elements of the design.
Especially some stereotype approaches about the Mosque architecture are inverted to re-use in different ways. The design is developed by questioning the basic elements such as the dome, the minaret together with the total image of the mosque and its fragmented structure.

In this manner, this design is actually the setup of a pile system arranged in such a way that it forms both the main prayer hall and also the complementary spaces around it. This fragmented pile effect generates a rising building silhouette as it questions the way these pieces can be linked to each other to form a whole.
The fragmentation, the re-union to form the whole, the relation of the material with the building scale, the dome structure forming the main prayer hall and the shaping of the minaret: all have alternative connections to the traditional world and to today's modern world. The main purpose of this design is to obtain a prayer hall by the raw, pure space made by the structure and to let this structure itself act as the ornament and the texture of the Mosque.

  • LocationRiyad, SA
  • Project Type Worship
  • Client Awqaf Sulaiman A. Al Rajhi Company
  • Project Year 2013
  • Construction Area 15540m²
  • Ground Area 10000m²
  • Project Status International Competition - 1st Prize - Under Construction
  • Project Team: Ömer Selçuk Baz, Architect
  • Ece Özdür, Architect
  • Lebriz Atan Karaatlı, Architect
  • Firdevs Ermiş, Architect
  • Pelin Yıldız, Architect
  • Static Project: Parlar Engineering Cosnultancy
  • Mechanical Project: Ente Engineering
  • Lighting Design: O2 Tasarım
  • Landscape Design: Ceypeyzaj
  • Fire Project: Adal Fire Safety
  • Consultant Team: AlFayadh Lab Arch
  • Dar Al-Omran Engineering Consultants


design / pile effect

section perspective

site plan

ground floor plan

2. basement floor plan

section 1-1

section 2-2

front view
dome sketches
dome section
merkez kubbe
facade / glass brick
glass brick detail