The Sakirin Mosque in Istanbul, contemporary Islamic architecture Featured

Created by Zeynep Fadillioglu, the first woman to design a mosque.
by 19 October 2009

Designer Zeynep Fadillioglu led a team of artists and craftsmen to create a modern ode to Islamic architecture: the Sakirin Mosque.

Adjacent to the Karacaahmet Cemetery on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, the Sakirin Mosque sits as a unique expression of contemporary Islamic architecture. Zeynep Fadillioglu, the first woman to ever design a mosque, and her team incorporated traditional techniques into modern forms to create a beautiful structure of worship in Istanbul.

The mosque was commissioned in 2005 by the children of late philanthropists, Semiha and Ä°brahim Sakir, who were both buried in the Karacaahmet Cemetery. The name Sakirin, which comes from their family name, is also an allusion to the Arabic word for ‘thankful’. Gazi, Ghassan ve Ghade Sakir had this magnificent mosque built to express their gratitude to their parents.

Working with a team of 18 specialists among which are expert calligraphers, miniature artists, light and fountain designers, Fadillioglu undertook a revolutionary project due for worldwide acclaim. The modern structure with two minarets each reaching 25 metres was built by architect Husrev Tayla. The outer walls are a combination of glass and iron mesh, which allows sunlight to wash the beautiful gilded interiors of the mosque. The mosque can accommodate up to 1,200 people: 250 in the main prayer hall, 150 on the specially designed balcony reserved for women, and 600 more in the courtyard.

Inside, the mihrab which indicates the direction of Mecca and the minbar where the imam conducts the prayer were designed by Fadillioglu’s own ZF Design. In its unusual form, the minbar is made of acrylic with leaf patterns, which represent the universe. The mihrab is designed much like a golden eye with a turquoise lid. The main prayer room is surrounded by glass walls designed as pages from the Quran with gilded verses inscribed.

One of the most outstanding aspects of the mosque is the monumental bronze chandelier hanging from the main dome. It was designed as a representation of a prayer by ZF Design and constructed by Nahide Buyukkaymakci and Orhan Kocan with golden letters from the Quran and blown-glass water drops on asymmetrical bronze circles.

Outside in the courtyard, there is a beautiful fountain designed by British designer William Pye with a brilliant metal sphere in the middle. The courtyard also features a small gallery where the family collection of Islamic art and relics will be displayed for the visitors.

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Contemporary art in Istanbul
Design culture in Istanbul