Cambridge UK Site of Europe's First Eco-Mosque

Image: Marks Barfield

The historic city of Cambridge, UK will soon be home to Europe's first real eco-mosque. Designed by Marks Barfield, the same design firm known for the London Eye and the Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway, the £13 million project will be built on a 0.4 hectare brownfield that was purchased two years ago, just for the purpose of building a new structure that hopes to inspire other mosques to abide by the long-standing environmental principles originally laid out in the Quran."Islamic civilization has been based on the rejection of waste as an under-estimation of God's blessing," says Tim Winter (also known as Abdul Hakim Murad), chairman of the trust responsible for funding the project. "So in the construction of the new mosque here in Cambridge, we were very much in the forefront of the local environmental movement in that we are using the latest heat pumps, conservation technology and green roofs so that we'll have an almost zero carbon footprint."

Featuring its own green roof, natural lighting provided by beautiful skylights, and energy locally generated by ground-source heat pumps, the mosque will also be faced in brick - allowing it to complement the existing buildings in the neighbourhood. The design will be Europe's first true eco-mosque, preceded by a partially eco-friendly mosque in Levenshulme that was completed in 2008, but did not use renewable energy and materials sourced from India.

Cambridge's mosque will accommodate up to 1,000 people with dedicated areas of worship (ablution, teaching, children's area, morgue) in addition to its cafe and meeting rooms for both Muslims and non-Muslims. From the firm's website:

The design draws its inspiration from 'the Garden of paradise' and water - the source of all life to create a calm 'oasis', with the 'trees' set out on a generous 7.8 x 7.8 metre grid forming the main mosque structure. The prayer hall is the heart of the building, organized around the mihrab with the principal dome above it. Between the structural 'trees' within the prayer hall, soft natural light filters in through circular glass domes. Twenty new cypress trees creating a new permeable green edge around the building.

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