Cambridge Central Mosque

Marks Barfield Architects 

Combining elements of local architecture and Islamic tradition, with geometrical decorative patterns symbolizing the infinite, this mosque was built in accordance with the scheme that won a 2009 competition, drawn up by Julia Barfield and her husband, David Marks, who died in 2017. Conceived to welcome a congregation of 1000, it has a timber structure held up by branching columns that reach out like the interlacing ribs of English Gothic fan vaults, as in the chapel of King’s College at Cambridge University. On the outside, a ceramic wrapping echoes buildings nearby. Inserted into a low-rise residential neighborhood, the spiritual and cultural center was designed to minimize impact on the environment through both passive and active sustainable means. It runs partly on solar energy and incorporates a system for collecting rainwater. The project has won several awards and was recently shortlisted for the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize.