The Musalla, or mosque, section of Abu Dhabi’s Al Hosn site has received another international architecture award.
The structure garnered top honors in the Internal Design and Creative Ceilings category of the eighth annual Architizer A+Awards, one of the largest architecture awards programmes in the world. It is organised by Architizer.com, a global online community of architects.
The Musalla project, designed by architecture firm CEBRA and developed by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, triumphed over shortlisted competitors from Detroit in the US, Lisbon in Portugal, as well as Beijing and Hefei in China.
"The Musalla at Al Hosn site has already received global recognition for its creative design, and this latest award from the prestigious Architizer Award further validates DCT Abu Dhabi's commitment to excellence in our initiatives," said Saood Al Hosani, acting undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.
“Al Hosn is a physical manifestation of the emirate’s heritage and its link to the past. The Musalla, however, represents a wonderful symbol of the emirate’s continuous cultural growth, and DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to both preserving the past whilst looking to the future.”
Built in 2018, the religious building was an important component in the revitalisation of Al Hosn heritage site. Located adjacent to a public park, The Musalla’s prayer hall consists of a series of small-interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure that is partially embedded into the park’s water feature. The water creates a natural privacy barrier to the park, creating secluded spaces for worship, but also serves as a symbol of spiritual purification.
However, it was the mosque’s interiors that caught the eye of the A+Awards judges. A suspended ceiling is punctuated with circular openings that act as skylights. Combined with pendant lights, they appear as abstract star formations that evoke associations to the region’s heritage of stargazing for navigation. The concrete ceilings of the entrance hall and ablution spaces are contrasted in the prayer halls by wooden formations with copper-clad insides, which create endless reflections of light.
The structure also won the top award in the Completed Building Religion category at last year's World Architectural Festival.