The building was designed as a response to the Sancaklar Family who wanted to build a mosque on a site overlooking the Buyukcekmece Lake, at a neighborhood of many gated communities. The main issue was a confrontation with the classical Ottoman mosque scheme, which became a blank anachronism with today’s construction techniques.

Architectural Project: EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture
Location: Istanbul- Turkey
Project Date: 2011
Completion Date: January 2014
Function: Religious Building

Area Information
Parcel area: 7 365 m²
Gross area: 1 200 m²
Footprint: 1 200 m²

Additional Information
Car Parking – 31

Client: Sancaklar Foundation
Owner: Republic of Turkey Presidency of Religious Affairs
General Contractor: Sancaklar Foundation
Structural Project: Balkar Engineering
Mechanical Project: Setta Engineering
Electrical Project: HB teknik
Landscape Design: Emre Arolat Architects, Medosa
Lighting Design: SLD – Piero Castiglioni
Acoustics: Sey Consulting
Photographer: Thomas Mayer
Calligraphy: Mehmed Özçay
Structural System: Reinforced Concrete

Exterior cladding
Masonry: Boyut Yapı Mimarlık
Moisture barrier: Detay Yapı
Curtain wall: Özcem Yapı

Metal frame: BSM Aluminium

Glass: BSM Aluminium

Entrances: Natural Ahşap
Wood doors: Natural Ahşap

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Bay Ahşap
Paints and stains: Boyut Yapı
Solid surfacing: BMG
Carpet: Golden Halı

Chairs: Koleksiyon Mobilya
Tables: Koleksiyon Mobilya

Downlights: Vetaş Electric & Lighting
Task lighting: Vetaş Electric & Lighting
Exterior: Vetaş Electric & Lighting
Dimming System or other lighting controls: Vetaş Electric & Lighting

Accessibility provision (lifts, ramping, etc.): MER Asansör

Timber formwork
Peri Kalıp

Sancaklar Mosque By Emre Arolat Architecture - Sheet7
©Thomas Mayer

Depending on the fact that a mosque does not have a predefined form and anywhere clean may be a prayer’s room, the project focused solely on the “essence” of a religious space, by distancing itself from discussions on form. Physical and emotional pleasure was at the forefront. The design aimed at representing purest forms of light and matter, just as a primary inner world, free from all cultural burdens. The disappearance of the building in the slope of the site, anchorage to the ground as if it has always been there, getting rid of all temporal and cultural engagements were aimed.

Sancaklar Mosque By Emre Arolat Architecture - Sheet10
©Thomas Mayer

The project site is located in a prairie landscape that is separated from the surrounding suburban gated communities by a busy street. The only visible elements of the mosque are the courtyard surrounded by horizontal walls and a vertical prismatic mass of stone (minaret), which depicts that this is a “place” and the inscription signifies that this is a place for praying. The cascades following the natural slope turns into steps as one moves through the landscape, down the hill and leads to the entrance at the lower courtyard. The tea house, communal space and the library just across the mosque enriches the gathering feature of this open space. The prayer hall reached directly, a simple cave like space, becomes a dramatic and awe inspiring place to pray and be alone with God.

Sancaklar Mosque By Emre Arolat Architecture - Sheet11
©Thomas Mayer

The interior is simple where materials put forward themselves as they are, free from redundancies. The walls and the ceiling strengthen the feeling of purification and humbleness. The space may be defined as a meditation space. The only ornament is the daylight that leaks on the Qiblah wall, changing according to the time of the day. The slits and fractures along this wall enhances the directionality of the prayer space. A very special element is the letter “waw” on the reflective black wall of infinity. First time in mosque architecture, women have the chance to pray just in the same row as the men, contrary to being at the back as in all others. They are placed at an elevated and separated part of the hall. The complex includes the ablution halls, restrooms and the imam’s house from where he can reach the hall directly.

©Thomas Mayer

The building blends in completely with the topography and in this peaceful way, delivers back the form of the ground. This submerging feature and the green roof all above provides a natural insulation against heat loss and gain. Landscape materials are mainly of rural plants that need no maintenance and that merges with the prairie of the surroundings. All these features prevents the use of extra energy and water.


2021     Abdullatif Al Fozan For Mosque Architecture, Winner
2019     Faith and Form Awards, Sacred Landscape Category, Winner
2018    RIBA International Prize, Shortlisted
2016    World Architecture Award 23rd Cycle “Realised”, “Mosques”, Winner
2016    German Design Award, Excellent Communications Design Architecture, Winner
2016    AICA India, “Cultural and Community Spaces” Category Winner
2015    2A Asia Architecture Award, “Public Category” Winner
2015    Archmarathon 2015, “Religious Buildings” Category Winner
2015    International Award Architecture in Stone, Winner
2015    50. Zagreb Salon of Architecture Winner
2015    Archdaily, “Religious Building of the Year” Winner
2015    Designs of the Year 2015, Design Museum London
2015    Mies Van der Rohe Award, Highly Commended
2014    XIV. National Architecture Awards, “Building Category’’, Winner
2013    WAF (World Architecture Festival), “Completed Buildings-Religion” Category Winner


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