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Cambridge Central Mosque

Shortlist 2019

Cambridge Central Mosque

Location: Cambridge
Architect: Marks Barfield Architects
Client: Cambridge Mosque Trust
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
Main contractor: Gilbert Ash
Joinery: The Deluxe Group
Wood supplier: Mayr-Melnhof Holz Reuthe GmbH
Timber frame engineer & installer: Blumer Lehmann
Project manager: Bidwells
Building services & sustainability consultant: Skelly & Couch
Wood species: European spruce, oak and mahogany

The first purpose-built mosque in Cambridge is a calm oasis of contemplation within a grove of trees, inspired by an image of the garden of paradise – with its water fountain symbolising the source of all life. Timber was chosen for its natural, warm and calming qualities. The expressed vaulted structure is glulam, while the surrounding wall and roof structure is CLT. The guiding geometry of the building is The Breath of the Compassionate, a historic Islamic pattern which evokes breathing in and out. Repeating star octagons are converted into a continuous structural pattern and projected onto the three-dimensional fan vaulting form. Alternate octagons are converted to the structural columns or ‘trunks’. The 30 trees create an overall impression of stillness, quiet and focus. 2746 pieces form the vaulted structure. Wherever possible metal connectors have been replaced with half lap joints for continuity of timber grain.