This Calm Mosque in Oman Sets a New Standard for Spiritual Minimalism
Masjid Bab Al Salam seamlessly blends Omani tradition with monumental architecture to create an unparalleled experience.
In looking to celebrate Omani architecture and instill a spiritual experience, Muscat-based design office Altqadum embarked on a journey that transcends conventional boundaries when it designed Masjid Bab Al Salam, an ethereal, minimal and monumental space that seamlessly integrates tradition and innovation.
“The inception of our concept centred around the spiritual realm, woven intricately with Omani heritage,” Marwan Al Balushi, Lead Architect at Altqadum, tells SceneHome of the design that echoes the simplicity of historical mosques yet resonates with contemporary functionality. “The challenge was immense, particularly in crafting a monument that speaks to both the present and future generations.”
Driven by the desire to infuse life into the surroundings, Altaqadum created a public space that breathes vitality into the area. “Delving into the roots of Omani architecture, we discovered the elegance in simplicity, drawing inspiration from the construction of traditional mosques,” Al Balushi adds.
Innovative construction techniques and meticulous material choices played a pivotal role in realising the studio’s vision. Using the Cobiax slab system, the men’s hall ceiling slab minimised concrete use and reduced the overall weight; the concrete makes up less than 40% of the slab's formation. The minaret’s construction, on the other hand, employed a specialised shuttering system carefully orchestrated in stages to achieve a distinctive form.
“Departing from the ordinary, we scrutinised the user’s journey and redefined the mosque’s main functions both architecturally and experientially,” Al Balushi continues. Attempting to push boundaries, the design faced many hurdles from the start, including the approval process with local authorities. “Deeply connected to the community, our design raised questions about form, size and colour,” he recalls. “Clear communication and unwavering determination were key to ensuring that the concept resonated authentically without misinterpretation.”
Hovering over the men’s hall, a masterpiece chandelier featuring 1,600 crystal glass balls pays homage to Islamic architecture as it echoes the familiar dome sensation. Meanwhile, in the men’s ablution space, a landscape island ingeniously directs splashed water for reuse in irrigation, marrying functionality with sustainability.
“Omani marble ablution seats, crafted by local artisans infuse a natural feel and durability into the open space,” Al Balushi explains. “In essence, our Omani mosque stands as a testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation, seamlessly blending spirituality, sustainability and monumentality into a harmonious architectural symphony.” From the men’s and women’s halls and ablution spaces, and the open public space, Bab Al Salam redefines the mosque landscape by breaking free from the confinement of boundary walls. The design encourages public engagement, fostering interaction between users, neighbours and the lush landscape.
Photography Credit Firas Al Raisi
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