Karwa Mosque
Penang, Malaysia

This replacement for a timber-and-concrete 1897 mosque welcomes visitors through a series of nuanced thresholds - commencing at the road’s edge with a serenely curved wall. Avoiding both traditional domes and arabesques and the excessive height of recent surrounding buildings, this one-and-a-half-storey structure capitalises on its small site with a large, landscaped courtyard terrace accommodating 1,200 worshippers. Beyond the courtyard - with its oval-shaped oculus (reminiscent of verandas in local vernacular architecture) - the large prayer hall is a double-height, square space. Its mihrab wall is, unusually, split into three full-height recessed sections rendered green with religious-text appliqués. The walls between these recesses form carved, perforated panels, punctuated by a minbar opening for the imam. Above a suspended concrete slab (raised due to alluvial soil conditions), the reinforced-concrete beam-and-column structure has brick infill walls. The column-free prayer hall is achieved using a post-tensioned concrete slab for its mezzanine and a steel space-frame roof.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Penang, Malaysia
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Completed 2019
1'024 m²
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