The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), is located on the Education City Campus, Doha. The scheme provides world class teaching and faculty space and the Education City campus mosque. QFIS is based on the Islamic ‘Kulliyya’ or ‘place where all knowledge is sought’ and the building provides a progressive learning environment which places the institution at the forefront of contemporary Islamic pedagogy countering the pejorative image of Islamic education. The Kulliyya implies that knowledge and faith are interwoven but that all knowledge ultimately comes from faith. This relationship is explored in QFIS through the infinite spiral building plan and multiple routes that bind faculty to mosque. Uniquely for the Muslim World, the scheme gives male and female students parity by providing co-educational, non-hierarchical space where men and women have equal consideration. The layout places the large volume of the mosque at one end, with the library, classrooms and faculty offices in the middle, culminating with two 90m high minarets symbolizing ¨knowledge and light¨. The mosque is lifted by the ‘five pillars of Islam’ inscribed with Qur´anic verse referring to Hajj, Fasting, Charity, Prayer and Belief and the pillars provide a cool undercroft leading to the student entrance.
Teaching accommodation is both formal and informal while including the use of corridors, lounges, and learning in the landscaped Islamic garden. The faculty is symbolically separated from the mosque by a four story ablution cascade wrapped around an undulating stair acting as point of meditative calm before entry into the scared space of the mosque. The scheme is intrinsically sustainable; the large south facing mosque self-shades the scheme. The undercroft is a tempered shaded space. Classroom are provided with cool courtyards and the ceramic cladding reduces solar heat whilst permitting natural light. Elevations incorporate a two skin modulated façade that changes around the buildings to mitigate solar radiation. The Islamic garden creates microclimates enabling outdoor learning for nearly 5 months in a year. Native planting uses little water and is irrigated using grey water from the mosque ablution.
QFIS has rapidly become a focal point not only for students but for the wider community, enabling the building to break down barriers of class and social-status. In a troubled world, QFIS suggests that an Islamic space can be contemporary, progressive and inclusive but, above all, can act as a beacon of hope in opposition to nihilistic conflict that has gripped the Middle East region.
Project : Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies
Location : Education City, Doha
Status : Completed 2015
Area : 41,000m2 and 70,000 m2 landscape
Client : Qatar Foundation
Architects: MYAA > www.myaa.eu
Photo credits: MYAA & Qatar Foundation