Saturday, 26 January 2008
Pavilion in Sudan
While I was looking at the entries of the 2007 AR Awards for Emerging Architecture, I was really taken away by one particular project that was highly commended by the jury. Its a pavilion for prayer and meditation for all faiths in Sudan designed by Studio Tamassociati.
The intention of the Venice-based Italian architects was to "create an enclave that could be spiritually neutral, yet still evoke a sense of the numinous" in a region that is suffering from religious and ethnic strife. However, and I don't know if its just me or if this is a testimony to the architects success in achieving their goal, the simplicity of the pavilion evokes a feeling of going back in time when Islam was pure. Stripped from any geometric decorations or architectural features like domes and minarets that have been influenced by the political power struggles between Muslims and other religions. It really looks as if this was the kind of mosque that our Prophet Mohammad (SAW) was praying in, a vernacular building made of local materials formed as simple as possible without decorations.
This pavilion is part of a heart surgery centre in Khartoum. The exterior is dominated by a large reflecting pool, a powerful symbol of physical sustenance in sub-Saharan Africa, which also separates the pavilion from the hospital and wider world. The pavilion is a simple composition of two white cubes connected by a roof of loosely woven bamboo that gently diffuses the harshness of the sun’s glare. At the pavilion’s heart are two trees, a reminder of the transcendental power of nature.