Thursday, June 4, 2009


Thanks to the Sakir Foundation, Turkey now has its first modern mosque rising up from the Uskudar sky. First, I would like to give you a tour of this mosque and after that, I would like to share my thoughts on why think this mosque is a failed statement.

Radical new sanctuary configurations had been experimented with since the dawn of Modernism in the late 19th century. Religion as a whole has been reviewed worldwide. Consequently, as architecture is the spokesman of culture, we witnessed a revolution in the places of worship.

In an attempt to catch up with now a century old trends, Turkey took a big step forward by assigning a woman to be in charge of the design and construction of the Sakirin mosque. Erdogan can now show his 32 just whitened teeth to the army of cameras which want to interview him on Europe’s most recent report on how pathetic of a job Turkey does protecting its woman from their husband’s abuse and proudly say “ but Turkey is officially the one and only country to host a female-designed mosque in history!” A bright red APPLAUSE sign will keep blinking until Sarkozy forges a grin.

Sakirin Mosque was widely publicized in Turkey and abroad. She is not the architect of the project (she is the interior designer), but it is still the first time a mosque gets a feminine touch. Even that is a big step for a country which made only backward progress in this area.

If Islam is not exactly your comfort zone, the fish-scale metallic dome is definitely an icebreaker. It does not feel like you are about to enter a mosque but rather a concert hall.
Crafted by: Kadir Akorak

Let's enter.

The old and the new make several compromises inside.
• The metallic sheer is balanced off with the traditional turquoise
• The structure steps down from its “stage for a spectacle” impression to a mosque, but in turn, it will give up its ‘house-of-Allah-modesty’ to glory
• The mosque keeps its crowning chandelier, yet the crown gets a facelift resulting in a modern chandelier, made up off hundreds of glass droplets, which creates a feeling of the unusual fluidity.
• The amorphous figures on this grill continue to contradict the traditional expectations. Typical Turkish mosques are decorated with geometrical and/or floral designs. Crafted by: Kaya Kalaycı

The fluid metal and glass finally join their mother water in the courtyard creating meditational atmosphere. All religions consider meditation to help the communication between the believer and creater. They employ different tools to densify the faith in humans. Catholicism uses portraits of suffering, Buddhism utilizes the color orange and this mosque used fluidity.

Saidly, Fadillioglu never refers to the fluidity theme in her numerous interviews. I choose to think that it can not be coincidental. She knew this mosque would be widely publicized, and she calls this project the climax of her life. So, I guess it would be safe to assume that she calculated every detail that she put in there.

Her feminine touch does not only show in the zen décor, but also in the acknowledgement of the female presence in the mosque. Some mosques reject woman, saying that their facility is not designed to accommodate woman. Well, this one is. It has a prayer room and absolution facilities for woman. The admission of woman is not an innovation. It was already there, but some mosques chose to ignore it.

Diyanet Isleri (Religious Affairs) found it appropriate to assign here an atypical imam whose unusualness and publicity matched that that of the mosques.

Razaman Kutlu (46) is not your everyday imam. He is a documentarian, musician, orator, TV host, architect, radio newsman, and an actor from a (unfortunately) popular mafia/gang fight series called Kurtlar Vadisi. He does not prefer right over left only because Islam favors right, also because his face pictures better from right.

Now that I made an introduction to out first modern mosque, I can get to the real stuff.

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