The narrow “main” roads filled with potholes and iron rods plunging out, the scorching afternoon heat and a destination unknown to both google maps and a large section of people living in Faidabad in Uttara; these were the obstacles that my colleague and I had to overcome while in search of the Bait-ur-Rouf Mosque.
Designed by Marina Tabassum, a veteran in the field of Bangladesh's architecture scene, and completed in 2012, the mosque gained plenty of recognition in the last few months after it had been nominated for the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture earlier this year.
“My focus was not to address the symbolic aspect but to concentrate on the spiritual ambiance and the act of praying. We come to a mosque to pray, to create a connection with the divine and that's what I wanted to highlight through my structure. I wanted to get rid of the extra fat and keep to the basics,” she adds.
Tabassum's idea was simple. She wanted to create a structure which had its roots in Bangladesh. “What I like to do in my practice generally is, root architecture to its place. To find its root, architecture needs to come from history, culture, climate etc. It's not just about the visual aesthetics. It's about combining all these elements of a place into a language of architecture. Not only is the historic reference of Islam important in this case but also the historic references of Bangladesh.”
“Our problem is that we have lost the rich glory of mosque building in Bangladesh. I think a mosque needs to be inspirational and spiritual enough to generate respect and create a divine feeling, otherwise it loses its purpose,” she adds.
The land for the mosque was donated to Tabassum by her grandmother.