Islamic Cultural Center Prototype
The ASMA (American Society for Muslim Advancement) and Büro Koray Duman are working on a new cultural center prototype that aims for the full integration of American Muslims into society while promoting and enriching their religious identity. The new center will be in New York City and is currently in fundraising process to acquire the land.
Location: New York, NY
Client: American Society for Muslim Advancement
Architect: Büro Koray Duman Architects
Structural Engineer: Silman Associates
Budget: $165 million
Construction Start Date: 2020
There are approximately 800,000 Muslims living in NYC. A majority of the gathering places for Muslims are mosques that focuses on "Religion as Practice," which does not leave enough room for developing "Religion as Culture." In 2015, ASMA and Büro Koray Duman embarked a research and design project to develop the first Muslim-sponsored multi-faith community center, promoting progressive change, inter-religious coexistence and cultural exchange. The new center will provide recreation, culinary, art, education, retail and office spaces with a total of 100,000 square feet.
Inspired by historic Islamic Cultural Centers – Kulliyes – the design implements the horizontal experience of inner alleys connecting various civic functions of a Kulliye into a vertical typology in NYC. The design studies the idea of a vertical public landscape. The public landscape wraps around the solid, stacked volumes inside, carving out necessary public volumes: auditorium, library and galleries creating a new kind of cultural center.
In section, each use is placed in relation to access: large gathering spaces near the base, public programs in the center and destination spaces at the top. Programs are also analyzed for their potential use to be "open" and "closed." Open programs, accessible by public without need for an enclosure, are pushed towards the exterior and incorporated into the vertical landscape.
The prayer room and multipurpose hall are located at the base of the building. Since the prayer room must orient towards Kaaba, the base is rotated to align with Mecca. The inner envelope twists as it moves upward to align with Manhattan grid. Symbolically, the form of the building bridges Mecca to New York City.