Plans have been revealed for a net-zero mosque to be built in Abu Dhabi's Masdar City.
The mosque, said to a first for the region, will have capacity for 1,300 worshippers, and the energy required for the building to operate will be 100 per cent solar.
“We have designed and created several net-zero energy projects but this one has particular significance for us and for me personally – particularly given we’re announcing it during Cop28,” said Mohamed Al Breiki, executive director of sustainable development at Masdar City.
“It will be more than a gathering place, a community hub or a place of worship. It will take people on a cultural, spiritual and environmental journey, serving as a powerful symbol of our commitment as responsible stewards of the Earth. This mosque is our gift to the community.”
Masdar City plans to set a new industry standard for houses of worship in the region through a design that blends environmental protection with cultural heritage and community building, according to a statement released on Monday.
“Touching the Earth lightly and helping others do the same is the very heartbeat of Masdar City,” said Lutz Wilgen, head of design.
“Integrating that heartbeat into a mosque was a unique challenge we were honoured to take on.
"After months of collaboration and consultation, we’ve created a design that seamlessly combines beauty, cultural significance, function and sustainability.”
Designing the mosque
The mosque’s main structure will primarily consist of rammed earth and a series of tiered windows on the roof, allowing the space to be illuminated with natural light patterns.
Rammed earth is the name given to the technique used for constructing foundations, floors and walls using compacted raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime or gravel.
“Each design choice is multifaceted,” said Mr Wilgen.
“The rammed earth provides outstanding insulation, helping to keep hot air out and cool air in, while also fostering a sense of place and belonging. It is also cost-effective.
"A series of tiered, operable windows on the ceiling will help inspire wonder and reverence for worshippers, while also creating a natural ventilation system that will make air conditioning optional in the winter months.
"This holistic approach, integrating environmental, social and economic sustainability is the essence of our methodology.”
At least 70 per cent of construction waste will be diverted from landfill and recycled materials will be used, wherever possible, to reduce both costs and the carbon footprint.
Low-flow water fixtures, drought-resistant landscaping and the use of recycled water for irrigation will reduce water use by 55 per cent.
Work will begin next year with a completion date to be announced at a later date.