Ali Mangera began his practice’s presentation with by far the largest project that any of the nominees showed in the course of the day — the 50,000sq m Abbey Mills Islamic Centre.
Commissioned by Tablighi Jamaat, an evangelical Islamic group, the building is designed to accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers with the potential to expand to 70,000 if demand requires it.
Mangera Yvars spent two years developing the scheme before submitting it for planning approval earlier this year. It will sit outside West Ham station, adjacent to the site of the 2012 Olympics. Containing a mosque, school, offices, dedicated youth facilities, dining and residential accommodation, the building will also incorporate an exhibition of Islamic culture which it is hoped will draw in non-Muslims.
Mangera Yvars is working up a number of other designs for innovatively conceived religious buildings, including the design of a 7,000sq m Islamic Centre in Harrow.
If they get it right, the Islamic Centre should be not just the great building of the Olympics but one of the great buildings of its time
Much of its other work is focused in the housing sector. Mangera’s partner, Ada Yvars Bravo, maintains the practice’s Barcelona office, which is working on a series of residential projects in Spain.
“The work they are doing in relation to British Moslem society represents an extraordinary opportunity,” said Spencer de Grey. “If they get it right, the Islamic Centre should be not just the great building of the Olympics but one of the great buildings of its time.”
BD editor Amanda Baillieu agreed, saying, “They are trying to reinvent perceptions of what a mosque might be, which feels like a really significant area to investigate in the present political climate.”