6/04/2012

Chandgaon Mosque; Bangladesh


Architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury designed the  Chandogaon mosque to fulfill the traditional role of a mosque as both a place of spirituality and as a gathering place for the community.  The architect began by identifying the essential elements of a mosque to create a new form and articulation for a typology that goes back for a millennium and a half.  the result is the monolithic and spare mosque, pared down to two identical cuboid structure.




You first enter through the front court, its heavy masonry walls are punctuated with low, wide openings onto the surrounding landscape, with a large eye like opening above.  In the second volume, the naturally lit mihrab wall is balanced by an iconic, cut dome.  While the apertures give a sense of openness and draw in light and ventilation by day, by night they allow light to shine out of the mosque like a beacon.  With its stark, geometric clarity, the Chandagaon mosque stands apart from similar structures that have reduced architectural features associated with the usual mosque type to the level of kitsch.  It makes a definitive architectural statement in a different direction, pointing to the contemporary, to a desire to live in spaces that reflect the universal values of the present day.