Basuna Mosque

  • by Waleed Arafa
  • /
  • 2019-06-02 15:06:13
  • /
  • International
  • /
  • 4440 / EN
  • Building Type : Other building
  • Construction Year : 2016
  • Delivery year : 2019
  • Address 1 - street : Downtown Basuna 1234 SOHAG, Other countries
  • Climate zone : [BWh] Subtropical dry arid

  • Net Floor Area : 472 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 300 000 €
  • Cost/m2 : 635.59 €/m2
  • Primary energy need :
    1 kWhpe/m2.year
    (Calculation method : Primary energy needs )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
A
51 à 90B
B
91 à 150C
C
151 à 230D
D
231 à 330E
E
331 à 450F
F
> 450G
G
Energy-intensive building

The Basuna Mosque won the Energy & Hot Climates Award of the 2019 Green Solutions Awards et the Egypt level and a mention  for the international Energy & Hot Climates Award.


The Basuna Mosque is located in the hot & arid village of Basuna, Sohag, Egypt, over a site amidst a noisy, dusty and densely constructed area with encroaching residential buildings, a cemetery, cattle frequently moving back and forth on the road and a weekly makeshift small market right outside the main entrance of this place of worship posed a major challenge. The new building must offer peace and tranquillity for its users and so a few requirements had to be met.
The solution depends on a cavity-wall with only one window, overlooking the calm cemetery, covered with a hybrid roof system; consisting of a concrete beam gridiron, cast in situ, forming a central square (6.0x6.0m) covered with a main dome, and 108 smaller square openings (0.82 x 0.82m) partially covered using pendentive-domes, complemented with fixed horizontal and operable  vertical glass panels allowing fresh high-altitude northern breeze to filter into the mosque, indirect glare-less sunlight to naturally illuminate the interior, and rain-water to be collected and used for cleaning and watering plants.

The main dome was constructed using an Egyptian-made light block made of sand, lime and air, with a density of 0.5 ton/m3, thermal conductivity 0.136-0.132 W/m2.°K, fire rating (relative to thickness) 4-7 hours, sound insulation (dB) 37-48. The remarkable lightness of the block decreased the building’s own-weight, in turn decreasing the required dimensions of all reinforced concrete elements. Its dimensions (100x200x600 mm) were perfect for introducing an original aesthetic, serving the conceptual scheme of the mosque, through employing a special cutting list and a simple staggered tessellation. I had to devise a special steel compass to guarantee the meticulous spatial positioning of every single block regardless of a mason’s skills and accuracy. 

Pendentive-domes are a known structural element, traditionally used to facilitate the transition from square to octagonal plans to finally receive the circular plan of a dome.
In the Basuna Mosque, this element was reimagined as an independent unit, with innovated functions; structurally as a roof system, environmentally as a wind-catcher and skylight, and aesthetically as an independent geometrical object, appreciated both from the interior and the exterior. 

The entrance dome references the historical dome of the Cordoba Grand Mosque. It serves as a reminder of the rich potential of historical architecture in both the architectural discourse and construction innovations.

There are 4 entrances to the building, two of which could be made accessible for worshippers with special needs, once the roads and infra-structure of the village allows for free and independent movement of people with special needs. 

The multi-use hall is designed to accommodate seasonal increases in the numbers of worshippers, of both genders, during Fridays and the Holy month of Ramadan, as well as serving an array of purposes all year round; temporary medical clinics, after-school and literacy tuition classes, etc...This brings back to mind the original all-inclusive function of the mosque, not only as a place for ritualistic worship but as a service center for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Data reliability

Self-declared

Photo credit

Essam Arafa, Waleed Arafa, Tariq Al Murri

Contractor

    Dar Arafa Architecture

    Waleed Arafa info@dararafa.com, Cairo, Egypt

Construction Manager

    Dar Arafa Architecture

    Waleed Arafa info@dararafa.com, Cairo, Egypt

Stakeholders

    Others

    Hisham Negm + Ahmed alHadary Amr Haggag Waleed Samir + Bishoy Nagy

    Engineering

Contracting method

Other methods

Owner approach of sustainability

Achieving the best environmental performance through passive strategies in conjunction with very low-maintenance.

Architectural description

Waleed Arafa and his firm Dar Arafa Architecture have designed an important combined religious and civil monument for the rural village of Basuna, in Upper Egypt. The construction of the Al Abu Stait mosque was the focus of a major fundraising campaign promoted by the eminent scholar Usama al-Azhari, a native of Basuna.
This mosque, along with the site it stands on, has a difficult history. The architecture we see today is actually the third reconstruction of the Al Abu Stait mosque on that ground, which is located in the centre of the village, next to the cemetery. The first place of worship on the site was built about 300 years ago as the village’s main mosque. The second construction dates back to about 70 years ago, when the first monument had to be demolished because it was severely damaged by a flood and subsidence due to the construction of a nearby building.
Designed in another time and different socio-cultural conditions, the old mosque included a single prayer room of about 165 square metres, reserved for men. Waleed Arafa’s new design aims to increase its capacity to be able to accommodate more worshippers, at different times of year - including both men and women - as well as to improve the quality of the spaces and services offered,

Whilst the inspiration for the project is to create a house of God, a physical space for He who exists outside of space and time, which are but his creations (“No human vision can encompass Him, whereas He encompasses all human vision: for He alone is unfathomable, all-aware.” [Qur’an 6:103] “[…] there is nothing like unto Him, and He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing” [Qur’an 42:11]), the aim is for the mosque to become a tool of social inclusion. According to the blueprint, the men’s prayer room is located to the north of the site, occupying a single area of about 170m2, whilst the rest of the land to the south-west is used for stairs and ramps for secondary access on both sides and to the basement level. So as to include an area dedicated to female prayer, the design has added in a mezzanine floor above the entrance area and with a separate entrance from the east, covering an area of 42 square metres. On the main façade, this is indicated by a zig-zag wall, lower in height than the male entrance, but with a distinctive figurative character with small rhythmic openings evocative of a curtain, which at once protects and enhances the space it conceals. The tall, dark wood entrance door adorned with arabesques extends from the ground floor to the mezzanine, thus symbolically embracing both spaces, male and female.
As you enter, your eyes are immediately drawn to the only window present, a light-filled cutout to the east, towards the cemetery area: this reminds worshippers of the journey of life, a moment before their attention is drawn to the the mihrab pointing to the Qibla, the direction towards which they are to start their prayers. In the centre of the square room, four twisted concrete pillars symbolise man’s path of ascent towards God and his aspiration to the Infinite. These support the main dome, built according to traditional Egyptian techniques, namely from blocks arranged in a staggered way to form a hemisphere, which is very light in comparison to its volume. Waleed Arafa writes that in their effort to ascend and at the same time embrace the centre, the small blocks represent the men who pray in an attempt to escape their material being; until, when they finally reach the top, they stop, transferring this aspiration to the minaret and thus becoming one with the celestial dome.

This is the apex of a boost of energy that runs from the bottom to the top, from the inside all the way up to the sky, going through the dome and the 108 small square skylights, formed by a grid of concrete beams. Light and air filter through the roofing system, which, although imposing, almost seems to rise up and away from the perimeter walls, opening up the heavens before the eyes of the worshippers. In addition to its highly symbolic nature, this structure is also an ingenious climate control tool: the sunlight enters indirectly, illuminating the space without glare; the skylights act as conveyors of rainwater, which is recycled for cleaning and irrigation, as well as promoting natural ventilation.

The characteristics of the setting of the mosque stands have strongly influenced the arrangement of its openings to the outside. The decision to open the space mainly upwards, allowing the cavity walls to function as insulation, suggests a densely-populated village which is both hot and dusty, with residential buildings next to the monument, a cemetery, and small improvised weekly market just outside the main entrance, with livestock often moving up and down the road. The project also intends to transform the large prayer room into a multipurpose space which can host temporary medical clinics, after-school activities and literacy classes, restoring the mosque’s original inclusive function, ensuring that it is not just a place for ritual worship, but a service centre catering to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.A mosque consisting of a ground floor, mezzanine and lower ground floor within an English court setting.

(copied from https://www.floornature.com/dar-arafa-architecture-al-abu-stait-mosque-basuna-egypt-14711/ )

Energy consumption

  • 1,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • 1,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • Primary energy needs

Systems

    • No heating system
    • Solar Thermal
    • No cooling system
    • Natural ventilation
    • Solar Thermal

    Rain-water to be collected and used for cleaning and watering plants.

Life Cycle Analysis

    All the materials were sourced to complement the environmentally sensitive approach governing the entire scheme.
    The architects used local materials for the construction, including a building block made of sand and limestone. According to Dar Arafa, the block's lightness decreases the building's weight, which in turn reduces the required dimensions of all reinforced concrete elements. 

Indoor Air quality

    The decision to open the space mainly upwards, allowing the cavity walls to function as insulation, suggests a densely-populated village which is both hot and dusty, with residential buildings next to the monument, a cemetery, and small improvised weekly market just outside the main entrance, with livestock often moving up and down the road.

Product

    DeltaBlock

    Plena Egypt

    Essam Samy +201272523375 +201228429253

    Structural work / Structure - Masonry - Facade

    Light sand/lime block

    This is an incredibly sustainable product with high performance in both acoustic and thermal insulation and fire resistance.

Construction and exploitation costs

  • 10 000
  • 300 000

Urban environment

The Basuna Mosque is located in the hot & arid village of Basuna, Sohag, Egypt, over a site amidst a noisy, dusty and densely constructed area with encroaching residential buildings, a cemetery, cattle frequently moving back and forth on the road and a weekly makeshift small market right outside the main entrance of this place of worship posed a major challenge. The new building must offer peace and tranquillity for its users and so a few requirements had to be met.

Land plot area

450,00 m2

Built-up area

300,00 %

Green space

150,00

Parking spaces

none

Building Environmental Quality

  • Building flexibility
  • indoor air quality and health
  • acoustics
  • comfort (visual, olfactive, thermal)
  • water management
  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energies
  • maintenance
  • integration in the land
  • mobility
  • building process
  • products and materials

Contest categories

Energy & Hot Climates

Energy & Hot Climates

Users' Choice

Users' Choice

Green Solutions Awards 2019 - Buildings

 Green Solutions Awards Winner
 Energy & Hot Climate Prize

Author of the page


  • Other case studies

    More

    Contest

    Green Solutions Awards 2019 - Buildings