Preston Mosque building design architect, Lancashire architecture contest entry, UK Islam prayer room images

New Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO

28 October 2021


Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO
images courtesy of architects practice

Preston Mosque Architecture Competition Design by AIDIA STUDIO


The task of designing a place of worship, regardless of the faith, is a phenomenal challenge for any architect. For AIDIA STUDIO as a team, this endeavour triggered a deep and lengthy journey into the history of humanity, the evolution of religion, the rise of Islam, its proliferation around the world along with the vast examples of architectural expressions that have enriched our towns and cities.

Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO

Perhaps more importantly beyond our fascination with the architecture of mosques, we cherish the opportunity to contribute to a new age of Islam in the U.K., a new age of inclusiveness, tolerance, and dignity and we truly believe that there is no better vehicle to drive that effort of dignification and acceptance than contemporary architecture with its ability to materializing ideals into innovative physical spaces.

New Preston Mosque AIDIA STUDIO design

Site -The Rite of Ascending

Our approach places the mosque at the highest point on the site, in doing so, apart from cultivating the symbolic gesture of the ascendance, we are able to define a journey which starts in the landscape, continues through the main access, cloak room and ablution and culminates in the prayer room. It seems appropriate that this ceremonial hall, be the most guarded space of the complex, at the highest point on the site and shielded away from the cars.
Qibla -Everything in Alignment.

We have embraced the requirement to orientate the mosque towards Mecca by extending this axis across the site into a design grid where all elements, architectural, structural and landscape are aligned in a holistic manner. This 4.8m grid provides a suitable framework for laying out the car parking and the pillars supporting the mosque’s vaults.

Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO

A Fractal System of Pointed-Arch Vaults

Our architectural journey rescues the quintessential archetype of Islamic Architecture, the pointed arch. This centuries-old building feature transcended its origins in Persia and India and migrated into Europe where it was quickly embraced across cultures during the gothic period. The pointed arch is structurally much more efficient than the rounded arch, and when turned into a vault it is able to span large distances clearing the floorplan from columns and other heavy load bearing elements.

We have devised a vault system of fractals which negotiate, subdivide and adapt to specific programmatic requirements. These vaults could be constructed out of reinforced ground natural stone or could also be casted in glass fibre reinforced concrete (GRC). By being a modular system, they would be able to be manufactured in series locally or regionally.

Preston Mosque building Lancashire interior design

Parking as Landscape

Possibly one of the biggest challenges we faced was to design a car parking which doesn’t resemble one. Our approach aims to blur the boundary between parking and landscaping, and we do so by establishing a playful array of shifting slates, plates, and benches.

New Preston Mosque parking layout Lancashire

We draw our inspiration from the Islamic gardens which are characterised by an intricate play of geometric patterns on multiple levels targeting the human senses through water features, fields of flowers, singing birds and shading elements. Along the edge of the site, a cascading array of planters blend with the surroundings.

Preston Mosque building design Lancashire England

Building Flow, An Intuitive Journey

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mosque design, is the materialization of a ritual into a significant ceremonial experience. We have aimed to provide an effortless intuitive, sequential flow from the time the user enters the building, checks-in their coat and umbrella, removes their shoes, proceeds to cleansing to finally entering the prayer hall. We have achieved a linear flow where paths of clean and dirty don’t overlap.

Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO

Ablution Rooms, Honouring the Ritual

In designing the ablution, we have aimed to go beyond the pragmatism of the washing requirement by rescuing the beauty and ritualistic significance of the cleansing. In this space, the sound of running water from a centralized fountain fills the space along with the effect of sun rays piercing from the skylight, as water washes your body, light purifies your soul. A celebration of a ritual, a poetic moment.
Mashrabiyas, breaking the light.

New Preston Mosque AIDIA STUDIO plan

Perhaps the most poetic of all Islamic architectural archetypes, the mashrabiya filters the light and sets the stage for a dimmed ceremonial atmosphere. We have designed a pattern which reinforces the fractal linearity of the overall scheme. The mashrabiya cassettes, intended to be casted bronze, close the vaults along the NW-SE axis creating a kinetic play of lights and shadows across all three levels of the mosque.

Preston Mosque building design interior by AIDIA STUDIO

Minaret, A Beacon for Preston

Apart from diffusing the call to prayer, the minaret works as an observation point of Preston. At 32m of height it will be visible from the near periphery and all major approaching roads. The aim is to make it a distinctive element and a landmark for Preston.

New Preston Mosque AIDIA STUDIO plan


According to the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, poverty is a much more common experience among Muslims than other religious groups in the UK. It is estimated that 50% of Muslim households are in poverty compared to the national average of 18% (based on data collected between 2009 and 2011).

New Preston Mosque AIDIA STUDIO plan

With this in mind we believe that the new mosque in Preston will play a much bigger role than solely a place of worship, it has the potential of forging the collective links that help an entire community to lift itself from poverty and claim their place in a forward looking, multicultural British society.

Preston Mosque building design by AIDIA STUDIO

Preston Mosque by AIDIA STUDIO, Lancashire – Building Information

Area: 1800 sqm
Levels: Three Levels
Minaret Height: 32m
Building Materials: Natural Stone Cladding, Casted Bronze Mashrabiyas, Granite Stone Tiles

Project Team:
Lead Architects: Rolando Rodriguez-Leal, Natalia Wrzask
Project Team: Emilio Vásquez Hoppenstedt, Rodrigo Wulf Sánchez

Visuals and Drawings: AIDIA STUDIO


Preston Mosque Design by AIDIA STUDIO images / information received 271021 from AIDIA STUDIO

Previously on e-architect:

Preston Mosque Architecture Competition Winner

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image courtesy of architects practice
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Preston Mosque Design, Lancashire
image courtesy of RIBA
Preston Mosque Architecture Competition

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) international design competition for a new Mosque near Preston, Lancashire, northwest England, UK, on behalf of a local registered charitable trust:

Location: near Preston, Lancashire, northwest England, UK

Preston Architecture

Contemporary Architecture in Lancashire – architectural selection below:
Preston Buildings

Preston Bus Station
Date built: 1969
Design: Building Design Partnership (BDP)
Preston Bus Station building facade
photograph © Adrian Welch
Preston Bus Station Building

Brockholes Wetland and Woodland Nature Reserve Visitor Facilities, east of Preston
Design: Adam Khan Architects
Lancashire nature reserve

National Football Museum, Deepdale
Design: OMI Architects
National Football Museum Preston – the contents have now moved to Manchester’s Urbis building.

Avenham Park Pavilion
Design: McChesney Architects
Avenham Park Pavilion

Preston Design Competitions

Preston Design Competition
RIBA University of Central Lancashire in Preston Design Competition

Preston Office Building Competition
Design: Moxon Architects
Preston Office

Preston Housing Competition
Preston Housing Competition

Park Houses
Design: Ushida Findlay Architects and Holmes Partnership
Preston Houses

Manchester Architecture
Henry Royce Institute, University of Manchester
image courtesy of architects office

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