The First International Conference on Mosque Architecture

  • Ashraf Salama (Keynote/plenary speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesKey-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences


Invited Keyote Speaker: The First International Conference on Mosque Architecture Title of Keynote: Persisting Inquiries: Interrogating Mosques Architecture in Western Cultures Outline: Muslim communities in Western cultures constitute a clientele for mosque architecture that did not exist before the 1950s. During the early 1960s significant numbers of Muslims immigrated to Europe and North America and settled in these cultures. In the mid-‘60s they felt the need to express their presence by erecting mosques. Thus, the mosque in a non-Muslim setting became a symbol, a point of reference that provides a protection under which people of a common belief can unite and interact. In essence, it is a catalyst for developing community spirit, for promoting collective strength, and for imbibing values that pertain to human behavior and code of conduct. In Europe and North American, Muslim communities are minorities in predominately Christian and non-Muslim cultures whose great religious architecture date back to several centuries. Mosques are perceived as non-verbal statements that convey environmental messages of presence. They differ dramatically from mosques built by communities in Muslim countries for everyday use. This is clearly evident in early mosques built in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Washington, and later in New Mexico, Indiana, and Toronto. The design of mosques in Western cultures continues to be constrained by several variables that include the physical and socio-cultural contexts, pressures from the local community, building bylaws and regulations, and references to regional traditions. Therefore, the ultimate objective of designing a mosque in a non-Muslim context is to strike a balance between these aspects while satisfying functional, visual, and symbolic requirements. This talk interrogates a number of issues relevant to the conditions within which Mosques architecture is created. It investigates the processes by which these conditions are addressed. It offers an overview of a number of mosques designed and built over the past three decades in Western (and global) settings. Lessons derived from these experiences are outlined. An in-depth exploration of the Mosque of Rome and the Mosque of Glasgow, as key examples, is undertaken to support notions related to tolerance, meaning, representation, conceptualism and contextualism to illustrate how religious architecture can reach across the boundaries of cultures and regions.
Period5 Dec 20167 Dec 2016
Event typeConference
LocationDammam, Saudi ArabiaShow on map


  • contemporary architecture
  • traditions
  • post-modernism
  • western cultures
  • migration