London Islamic Centre designed as inclusive project for all faiths

Architects at the London Islamic Centre have hit out at allegations linking the centre with the 7/7 bombers. In a stinging letter to the Evening Standard newspaper, Ali Mangera of Mangera Yvars Architects said that no links could be made between the centre and the London bombers. Mangera said:

“We would like to make clear that our project has absolutely nothing to do with any radical group whatsoever including the London bombers. The bombers could have attended any number of mosques in their lifetime, but they certainly did not attend our site at Abbey Mills. As architects working closely with our clients, we have gone to great lengths to provide an inclusive project open to all faiths. It is inconceivable that a public building and landmark project of this type could be built by any radical group.”

The Islamic Centre, based in Abbey Mills, will initially provide 10,000 prayer spaces, and a maximum of 20,000 in phase two of the project.

Developers Illyas Mosqu say that the scheme will provide access across the site to the Olympics Stadium from West Ham Station, the second station for Olympics visitors after Stratford.

Support for the project has already come in from London mayor Ken Livingstone, the London Development Agency, Newham Council, and Thames Gateway.

According to the architect’s website, the scheme considers visitor fluctuations and usage. Spaces can be extended in peak periods through the use of inflatable structures which temporarily cover outdoors areas to provide additional prayer space.

The building, although firmly anchored, adopts the language of nomadic structures or tented cities. The structural system is formed by distorting traditional geometric patterns to form a fractal structural series.

Water, light, sound and calligraphy are functional and decorative layers which describe the mosque.

The ablution space overlooks The Channelsea River and forms an internal spiral water cascade connecting washing areas on three levels below.

The scheme will draw light into the prayer halls through geometric patterns on the lattice roof structure and cladding. At night, however, the mosque dome will emit light through translucent panels and appear to have an inner glow emanating from within.

As an Islamic garden and green building, the scheme will emphasize recycling in line with Islamic teaching. The project is intended to be a prototype for sustainability and will incorporate wind turbine minarets and tidal power.

The Voice, 24 July 2005

Update:  A truncated version of Ali Mangera’s letter was eventually published in the 25 July issue of the Evening Standard.