Mahmud Qabadu Mosque – Hybrid Architecture for Religious Facility

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Mahmud Qabadu Mosque - Hybrid Architecture for Religious Facility
View from main street / © Abderrahmen Ezzine

The mosque has been designed to become a religious and urban landmark playing a central role within the rural community.

It is positioned at the center of the two-major axis of the urban development, joining the rural park with the main commercial artery and the two large urban pedestrian plazas (one with shops, the other without).

Mahmud Qabadu Mosque - Hybrid Architecture for Religious Facility
Aerial view / © Abderrahmen Ezzine

This privileged setting signifies unity and centrality, reflecting the role played by Islam in everyday life.

The mosque has two main entrances (one for men and one for women) opening directly to the non-commercial pedestrian plaza which can accommodate groups of worshipers before entering or exiting the mosque.

Two reflecting pools establish a reverential distance and a peaceful quiet threshold between on one side, the park, and the other, the main street. At the same time the pools flow from the place of worship to the origin of the irrigation system, suggesting the sublime connection between the nourishment of the soul and that of the earth.

Mahmud Qabadu Mosque - Hybrid Architecture for Religious Facility
View from the Public Plaza / © Abderrahmen Ezzine
Mahmud Qabadu (1812–1872) of Tunisia, also Muhammad Qabadu, was a scholar of Quranic studies, a progressive member of the ulama, and a long-time professor at the Zaytuna mosque academy

The enclosure walls do not wholly seal the interior, since, as they soar upwards they gradually become more porous, ultimately transforming into Moucharaby. The cooling breeze and natural light from the park flow freely through the walls, letting the building naturally breathe, meanwhile the floor is constantly kept warm at human body temperature.

Mahmud Qabadu Mosque - Hybrid Architecture for Religious Facility
Main entrance elevation

The overarching vault is erected by local masons using local materials. Its parametric design and digital fabrication involve the use of RhinoVAULT software (Funicular Form Finding The Rhinoceros® Plug-In RhinoVAULT). It is a structural form using the Thrust-Network-Approach to intuitively create and explore compression-only structures.

Project Details:

Location: “La Colline aux Oliviers” – City of Jedaida, Manouba Governorate, Tunisia
Design: Philippe Barriere Collective (PB+Co)
Team: Philippe Barriere Collective (PB+Co), Adnen Ben Tanfous (Associate Partner), Samir Assad, Yosri Boukadida, Vicky Tessier, Lucie Riedweg, David Boisseau, Wael Ben Mansour
Graphic Designer: Abderrahmen Ezzine

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