The jury for the international competition for Prishtina Central Mosque failed to agree on a clear first prize winner; however it seems that some of the un-awarded entries caught the attention as well. MI’RAJ is the proposal of APTUM, Swiss / American architectural practice, named by one of two parts of the night ascension journey that the Islamic prophet Muhammad took one night. The proposal materializes the journey of ascension to prayer and the spatial experience that follows. Islamic community of Prishtina was searching for a unifying symbol and identity that can bring together many disparate mosques of Kosovo capital, APTUM’s design harnesses that need and brings together a sense of place and provides public space for the greater good of the community.
Stairs are wrapping the south side of the building and the journey begins. At the end of the slow stairs, the round plaza opens, providing the great space for sitting, relaxing of proceeding to the very entry of the mosque. The plaza is suitable for gathering, contemplating or simply enjoying the weather.
The prayer hall is approached through a series of fan-like arches. As one enters the hall, he finds a multi-level space with light shining from far above his head – a shimmering dome is hovering high in the space.
Due to the grandeur of the space of the prayer hall, the one can be suspended as a part of a larger divine whole. After the prayer is finished, people proceed back through the ablution space, down the stairs or ramp, reemerging back to the community plaza, where they can choose how to continue the soul journey with their family and friends.
The Mosque, proposed by APTUM, shows contemporary and innovative investigation in direction of finding new modalities for designing Islamic spatial experience, which follows the physical and spiritual journey.