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Thursday24 August 2017

New architect submits plans for Newham 'mega-mosque'

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Scheme will be the size of Battersea Power Station

Cambridge practice NRAP Architects has submitted plans for the so-called Newham mega-mosque, more than two years after a previous scheme by Allies & Morrison bit the dust.

The planning application is the first to be lodged despite three architects working on the project since its inception in 2006.

NRAP was appointed in 2011 and drew up plans that included retail units and 300 flats on the 6.5ha site near the Olympic Park.

But these have now been dropped after the Muslim community that is funding the 9,350-capacity mosque - including 1,830 segregated places for women - objected to the idea of its donations going towards a commercial venture.

The scheme submitted to Newham Council by the controversial Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat is for a mosque, 2,000-capacity dining hall and Islamic library, plus a sports pavilion and playing fields for the wider community.

There will also be children’s facilities, eight flats for imams and overnights visitors and 300 car parking spaces.

The mosque, which will include two 15m minarets, has been scaled back from original plans to accommodate 12,000 worshippers, but will still be roughly the size of Battersea Power Station.

Newham mosque by NRAP

Newham mosque by NRAP

The materials will be dark brick with aluminium alloy screens treated with a shimmering copper finish. These will be used as cladding in some places and in others as perforated veils over glass.

NRAP director Richard Owers said it was a “genuinely West Ham mosque” because, aside from the minarets which were a key requirement of the client, the design involved a “subtle underplaying of traditional Islamic architecture”.

From the outside the roof appears flat but inside 35 coffers create a small dome.

He acknowledged there was local opposition to the mosque but said it was the only realistic option because the site, an old chemical works, would prove unviable for all but the richest developer because it is so contaminated and cut off by rail lines and sewers.

“I can’t think of a better site to put the mosque on because it’s such a tricky site to develop,” he said.

Newham mosque by NRAP

The original architect appointed in 2006 was Mangera Yvars but it was replaced by Allies & Morrison after a year when attempts to work together collapsed in acrimony, only for the second practice to be dropped in disputed circumstances last year.

Last year Newham Council served an enforcement notice on the group after temporary planning permission expired for the pre-fab its followers have been meeting in on the site.

Temporary permission was later renewed but Owers said the fact this is due to expire again next spring had helped the whole team concentrate on submitting a planning application.

 

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Readers' comments (13)

  • Sebastian Cuff

    This firm needs a little help with their Photoshop, what? Maybe they should give that chap who can do great copies of train tickets a job? Can't make out the minarets at all, looks like a civic centre from a failed diploma project from the early 1980s. Actually I bet NRAP are Photoshop wizards and these these drawings a really a smoke screen to make it all look rather fuzzy and not so Islamic, what-ho?

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  • Cant quite make out what I'm looking at... but its horrid.... love child of Stansted airport and a failed social housing development....

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  • Munter Roe

    Click on the thumbnails and the images look more clear.

    Think BD are doing this lot a dis-service by blowing up the thumbnails in the main article.

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  • Mike Duriez

    It is a pity that the late Isi Metzstein has not been able to give this scheme a thorough crit.

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  • @ Keith - think you are looking for the Daily Mail website with that last comment. I am Muslim and have no issue with gay people or gay marriage, we all have the right to life and happiness, so be careful who you refer to as intolerant.

    What I do have an issue with are thumbnail images of a building blown up (oh cheeky) without context, plans, sections etc etc so that it allows BD viewers the chance to appreciate and discuss the architecture. Something that BD seem unable or unwilling to do anything about. At uni we had what was dubbed a "shopping list" including the basics for submissions for reviews and crits, allowing the work to be discussed, BD take note!

    @ Tom - am sure the advent of a such a building in Pakistan would be met with the same furore and ignorance that previous attempts at the "Mega mosque" has been met with in tabloids, online forums and online petitions.

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  • ...or
    The disgraceful treatment of the 'Islamic community' by Keith Hodson should put a permanent stop on any accommodation of 'his comments' in the UK. Why should we tolerate the intolerant?

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  • Thank you BD for some additional images, I hope that future published project articles can have more variety of images to assess work.

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  • zecks_marquise

    This organisation's attempt to provide a permanent facility for a community use (be it specialised) is going to give far more to the legacy of Newham than the Olympics ever will. For that, they should be applauded.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    I'm finding it difficult to reconcile those very sketchy 3D views, which seem like the worst of market-driven bulimic architecture. with the arrangement on plan, which is strong and decisive and seems rooted in the architect's deep knowledge of mosque architecture. A major building like this on an unloved spit of land which I happen to know well, overlooking a muddy tributary of the Thames and right beside a very smelly sewage pumping station, would certainly be a worthy upgrade to Newham and a dignified acknowledgement of its very numerous Muslim population. As for the "controversial" character of the Tablighi Jamaat movement, surely this is an internal matter ?

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  • @Keith, you're making a twat of yourself. Is insulting great swathes of the population, or bigotry not even challenged by direct experience of a Muslim being all reasonable and considerate, 'the basis for a tranquil, organised, unified society'? And your references to Miss Piggy, Albert Speer, WTF?

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  • Please note, a number of comments have been removed from this thread as they were in breach of our Terms & Conditions and/or generated a number of reader complaints.We have also edited a number of comments that referred to the removed posts.
    We would appreciate it if commentors could refrain from hurling offensive religious insults at one another and talk about architecture instead.
    Anna Winston
    Online Editor

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