Cambridge Central Mosque
© Wienerberger Ltd

Case Study

Cambridge Mosque

Discover an award-winning visionary project that combines classic Islamic art and modern sustainability, using Corium brick tile cladding.

Cambridge Mosque, designed by Marks Barfield Architects, is a bold but graceful reimagining of a spiritual and cultural centre, setting out a new vision for the 21st Century British mosque. The £23 million project caught the attention of architects and the wider construction industry when it was opened, winning multiple awards and accolades.

After the existing place of worship on Mawson Road started having capacity issues, it was clear that a larger, more modern space was needed. A competition was held, inviting international architects to submit their concepts for a sustainable, 1000-person capacity mosque.

Marks Barfield Architects won the competition in 2009 and in April 2019 the new mosque opened its doors, offering a peaceful, oasis-like aesthetic that draws on classic Islamic design while reimagining the place of worship for the modern day. The project has since won a raft of awards, including Architect’s Journal Best Community and Faith Project 2019, RIBA East Project Architect of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Marks Barfield Architects were inspired by the historical architecture of mosques, particularly how they integrate with the cultural and climatic environment in which they are built. They wanted to create a design that reflected the rich cultural heritage of mosque architecture, while adapting to the unique streetscape on which it would be built, and the wider atmosphere of Cambridge.

In addition to this challenge, one of the key requirements for the project was to create a modern place of worship that is also sustainable – a visionary ‘eco-mosque’ that would set a new standard in combining the complementary pillars of faith, community and sustainability.

Cambridge Central Mosque
© Wienerberger Ltd

"Marks Barfield Architects were inspired by the historical architecture of mosques,

particularly how they integrate with the cultural and climatic environment in which they are built."

The architects chose Corium brick tile cladding as a facade system, provided by Taylor Maxwell and manufactured by Wienerberger, to help realise their vision for a modern eco-mosque. They used light buff coloured brick tiles to reflect local aesthetic of Cambridgeshire gault bricks, creating the all-important connection between the new project and its surroundings.

The Corium brick tile system also allowed the architects to use bespoke protruding headers to design geometric Islamic patterns, including Arabic inscriptions in Kufic calligraphy. Red Corium brick tiles were used to inscribe the words ‘One God’. The Corium system continues from the exterior of the building throughout the prayer hall, giving the space a consistent finish.

One of the building’s most striking features are the tree-like engineered timber columns, made from sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber and glulam, creating the ‘Garden of Paradise’ envisaged by the architects. The natural wood complements the colour palette of the Cambridgeshire buff Corium brick tiles.

The building itself is almost entirely carbon neutral, with energy use kept to a minimum, thanks to a mixture of static heating, natural ventilation, air sourced heat pumps, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and solar-powered hot water. Furthermore, the mosque was designed to use as much natural light as possible, minimising the amount of electricity required.

The eco-conscious design extends to the exterior landscaping of the project, with a community garden and Islamic garden drawing a connection between the natural world outside and the architectural timber ‘trees’ built into the mosque’s design.


Project Summary

Awards and Accolades
Products Used
Modern atrium of Cambridge Mosque

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