Musalla at Al Hosn Wins Prestigious A+ Architizer Architectural Award
Abu Dhabi’s global reputation for excellence was further enhanced this week after the iconic Musalla of Al Hosn site won yet another prestigious award for its world-class architecture.
The Musalla (Mosque) was chosen as the first prize winner of the international architecture A+ Architizer Award in the Internal Design and Creative Ceilings category, triumphing over international projects from around the world.
The Architizer A+ Award, which focuses on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture, is the world’s largest architectural awards programme, featuring thousands of contestants every year and attracting more than 400 million visitors to its website. The Award’s mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and to champion those products that are integral to bringing inspiring buildings to life. The winners for the 2020 edition were selected by a panel of expert judges and rated on parameters that included harnessing cutting-edge approaches, materials and technologies to build safer, cleaner and more resilient spaces for generations to come.
The Musalla project, developed by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has won the top spot in the cultural category, triumphing over shortlisted competitors from Detroit in the US, Lisbon in Portugal, as well as Beijing and Hefei in China.
“The Musalla at Al Hosn site has already received global recognition for its creative design, and this latest award from the prestigious Architizer Award further validates DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to excellence in our initiatives,” said HE Saood Al Hosani, Acting Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi. “Al Hosn is a physical manifestation of the emirate’s heritage and its link to the past. The Musalla, however, represents a wonderful symbol of the emirate’s continuous cultural growth, and DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to both preserving the past whilst looking to the future.”
The unique and modern architecture of the Musalla aims to complement and enhance the most culturally significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi, whilst promoting it to a larger global audience and making the legacy of the emirate accessible to the world.
The Musalla constitutes an important element within the new cultural landscape that is part of the comprehensive revitalisation masterplan for the heritage site surrounding the Al Hosn area. The prayer hall consists of a series of small, interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure pushed halfway into the park-scape’s water feature.
It was the interior design, however, that caught the A+ judges’ eyes, with its suspended ceiling with circular openings punctuating the otherwise closed spaces as skylights. Combined with pendant lights, they appear as abstract star formations that evoke associations to the region’s heritage of stargazing for navigation. The concrete ceilings of the entrance hall and ablution spaces are contrasted in the prayer halls by wooden formations with copper-clad insides, which create endless reflections of light linking the ceiling detail back into the overall scheme of the project, much like a fractal.
This prestigious A+ accolade bestowed upon the Musalla adds to the previous international award the structure has received when it won the first prize award in the category of Completed Building – Religion at the World Architecture Festival 2019, held in Amsterdam last December.
One of DCT Abu Dhabi’s primary missions is to conserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage, as the organisation develops the emirate into a sustainable destination of distinction that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike.