Plaza at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque


Sustainable retail within the grounds of an icon

Our competition entry concept objective was to design a world class and unique visitor experience for the iconic Grand Mosque. Our design solution places a building between the visitor arrival parking and the mosque gardens placing the accommodation under a new garden as an extension of the current mosque gardens.

This simple idea would allow visitors to move seamlessly through the new building on their way to the mosque, taking in an interactive visitor experience that provides information about the iconic Grand Mosque, whilst being able to use the many facilities provided, including cafes, restaurants, retail offers in a souk style environment, childcare facilities and ablution and changing facilities. The garden facility uses light wells and shaded roof lights to flood the spaces with daylight in appropriate areas whilst allowing light sensitive exhibition, display areas and the auditorium to function in artificially lit spaces.

The garden cover to this new facility provides a beautiful, symmetrically patterned landscape of green planting, water pools, richly patterned stone surfacing with the modelling of the pop up daylight features to the space below providing form to this garden surface. A major feature of the design is the inclusion of a camera obscura displaying the magnificence of the mosque in a state of the art environment.

This environmentally conscious design uses the high thermal mass of the gardens to moderate the visitor environment below whilst screened daylight reduces artificial lighting loads. Shaded external spaces with some limited water features provide a modified external
environment for people to enjoy being outside.