SHAFAQNA – New York based Büro Koray Duman Architects are collaborating with the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) to design a cultural center prototype, named Cordoba House, in order to facilitate the total integration of American Muslims, without compromising their religious identities. The center will be the first Muslim sponsored multi-faith community center in New York City, aiming to help promote “progressive change, inter-religious coexistence, and cultural exchange”.
Highlighting the necessity of such a project, the design team explain: “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.”
Accommodating a total of 100,000 square feet, Cordoba Housewill include recreation, culinary, art, retail and administrative spaces and programs. Based on the historic Ottoman Islamic center, known as a “Kulliye”, the project intends to integrate an intimate horizontal experience within the verticality of the city, ultimately achieving a “vertical landscape” that references the alleys of the historic Ottoman precedent. This vertical public space revolves around the solid interior volumes, which are stacked and then carved to create public amenities such as an auditorium, a library, and galleries.
Vertically, the building is organized with large gathering spaces at its base and destination spaces at the top, which sandwich the public programs in the middle. The spaces and programs also vary in terms of privacy, with easily accessible and open programs shifted to the exterior as opposed to more private spaces within the solid core. Symbolically, the form of the building bridges Mecca to New York City.
At the base of the cultural center, which is oriented to face Mecca, the prayer room and a multi-purpose hall form important spaces that are central to the identity of the building. As the center rises, the interior envelope contorts to align with Manhattan’s grid.
The project is currently undergoing a fundraising process to acquire the land for it to be built upon. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.