The KAPSARC Community Mosque, located in the capital city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is a winner of the Faith & Form’s 2014 Religious Art & Architecture award. The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research center (KAPSARC) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the study of economics and technology across all platforms of energy.
Planned by global design architecture, engineering and urban planning firm HOK (formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum), the scheme includes 10 communal buildings (including a mosque, a library and a bowling alley), a 200-house residential neighborhood and four other utility structures.
Surrounded by a reflective pool, the mosque is elevated 3 feet above the adjacent outdoor spaces. This pool glows at night, creating the illusion that the building is levitating over water. Worshipers enter the mosque by climbing floating stone steps and walking along a glass bridge over the reflective pool.
With a pattern of glowing windows and surrounded by glass, the mosque’s appearance changes from day to night. During the day, the shadows from the complex mullion patterns travel over the inner stone facade, creating a dynamic experience that varies by season. At night, the glass box acts like a lantern washed with light at the bottom and punctuated with points of light near the top.
A 115-foot-tall minaret tower is located adjacent to the mosque and mirrors the patterns of the it’s facade and facilitates the daily calls to prayer.