Marks Barfield moves from attractions to mosques with commission in Cambridge, England
More known for the design of innovative attractions such as the London Eye and Kew Gardens Treetop Walk, Marks Barfield has taken a new direction in their appointment by the Muslim Academic Trust to design the new Cambridge mosque. Marks Barfield will work in association with Professor Keith Critchlow on the project which will rise to a maximum of just 3 storeys above ground level.
Located a few hundred yards from the current Mawson Road mosque, in a predominantly residential neighbourhood, the new building will stand on the site of the derelict Robert Sayle warehouse, while retaining and enlarging the existing community garden at the front. On behalf of the Trust, Chairman Tim Winter said:
"Working with Marks Barfield, we can create on the Mill Road site a superb place of worship to replace the overcrowded facility on Mawson Road.
"This building will be truly inclusive, sustainable, safe, secure and respectful of the neighbourhood. It will be a landmark building which will inject new life into the Mill Road area of Cambridge of which the local and wider Cambridge community can be proud".
The new building will be consistent with the height, scale and massing of the surrounding built environment with the facade completed in brick, complementing the materials already used in the neighbourhood.
The overall design for the site has been developed from the concept of a calm ‘oasis’, with the ‘trees’ set out on a generous 7.8 x 7.8 metre grid forming the main mosque structure. The concept will be reinforced across the site with about 20 new cypress trees creating a new permeable green edge around the building. The ‘oasis’ will offer a significant new open space in a built-up area of Victorian terraced houses.
Inside, the new Mosque will accommodate a congregation of up to 1000 men and women. In addition to the Mosque’s dedicated areas (ablution, teaching, children’s area, morgue) there will be a café, teaching area and meeting rooms for use by the local Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
In the coming months the Mosque Project team will consult local stakeholder groups in the process of preparing the detailed scheme and planning application in 2010. The balance of the funding for the £13m project is being sought from a number of donors and sponsors.
In further Marks Barfield news, piling works have begun on their latest piece of attraction architecture, the Brighton i360. Works began just prior to the date that the planning application was set to run out, ensuring that the project was not thrown out. While funding is still being sought for the project, which will see a 150m pillar erected on the seafront, it is expected to be complete in time for the London 2012 games. Brighton is situated on the coast of England, just one hour south of London.