The Islamic Religious and Cultural Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia opened early this year after almost seven years of construction.
Located in the Bežigrad district of Ljubljana, near the city centre, the Islamic complex designed by local architecture studio Bevk Perović arhitekti, is a 14,080-square-metre campus consisting of a religious school building, a cultural and administrative section, an apartment building for the employees of the community, a restaurant, as well as a mosque, which is the first one to be built in Slovenia.
"The ‘specificity’ of the new location for the Islamic Religious and Cultural Centre is precisely its complete lack of ‘specificity’ – an area that is near the city centre, but abandoned and forgotten, in a fragile undeveloped state, with an uncertain urban future," said Bevk Perović arhitekti.
The mosque sits in the centre of the complex, with the buildings arranged around the central square area and facing the outside world. The mosque opens fully towards the square to allow for the prayer space to be extended when large congregations need to be accommodated.
Bevk Perović arhitekti’s design combines elements of traditional Islamic architecture with contemporary architecture, with the glass facades reflecting the centre’s transparency and openness. The building has a steel structure and features thick steel latticework, with white concrete filled in the lower part, and transparent glass fixed on the upper part, allowing for the sun to flood the interior space.
The blue textile dome is a striking element in the mosque’s design, dominating the interior space.
"The cupola – the central element of the mosque – rather than topping the space, hangs suspended within its interior," said Bevk Perović arhitekti.
"As a representation of the sky in historical examples – it is made of transparent blue textile, the flimsiest and most fragile of materials, the material, which in Islam has a long and rich history – starting from the Kiswah of Kaaba to the portable tent-mosques of Iran."
Photographs: David Schreyer