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Cambridge Mosque

The Cambridge Mosque project, designed by award-winning Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the iconic London Eye, is a spectacular architectural focal point in Cambridge, enhancing the city’s prestige and reputation.

Client

Marks Barfield Architects

Sector

Culture and Heritage

Location

Cambridge

Product Used

Cambridge Mosque

Inspirational, Sustainable Architecture

The first eco-mosque in Europe integrates the latest conservation technology, green roofs, solar panels, and water conservation measures. Thereby highlighting its ecological sensitivity. The architecturally inspirational building was expertly designed by Marks Barfield Architects. It features beautiful Kufic calligraphy patterns within the brickwork and exquisite criss-crossed laminated timber support. Natural wooden pillars opening like generous-sized trees and impressive gardens with Cypress trees provide a sense of peace and calmness. Consequently, to the visitors, Cambridge Mosque is a calm oasis.

The building’s scale and features complement the surrounding built environment of the Mill Road area. Owing to the green open space brings a new breath of fresh air to the neighbourhood. Additionally, the Mosque exceeds Part L Building Regulations requirements for thermal insulation and airtightness. In fact, it is on the verge of becoming a zero-carbon building.

Europe’s inaugural eco-mosque emerges as a beacon of environmental consciousness, seamlessly weaving together cutting-edge conservation technology, verdant rooftops, solar panels, and ingenious water-saving mechanisms. This architectural gem stands as a testament to its unwavering ecological commitment. The visionary blueprint for this masterpiece was etched by the skilled hands of Marks Barfield Architects, resulting in a harmonious fusion of design and sustainability.

The heart of this structure beats with Kufic calligraphy patterns etched within its brickwork, a testament to its cultural depth. Further captivating the eye are the intricate criss-crossed laminated timber supports, a symphony of form and function. Natural wooden pillars, reminiscent of majestic trees, branch open, evoking a sense of tranquility. The surrounding gardens, adorned with graceful Cypress trees, extend an invitation to serenity, making the Cambridge Mosque a sanctuary of calm.

In its grandeur, the mosque seamlessly integrates into the Mill Road area, harmonizing its scale and features with the built environment. The inclusion of open green spaces infuses a refreshing vitality into the neighborhood, breathing new life into its surroundings. A testament to its eco-conscious ethos, the mosque surpasses the thermal insulation and airtightness standards set by Part L Building Regulations. In fact, it stands on the cusp of achieving a milestone – a zero-carbon status that embodies a commitment to a cleaner future.

The Cambridge Mosque, Europe’s pioneering eco-mosque, stands as a beacon of possibility. It showcases a harmonious blend of architectural magnificence and environmental mindfulness. A monument to sustainability, cultural depth, and tranquility, it captures the essence of a holistic approach that not only uplifts the spirit but also embraces the responsibility of safeguarding our planet.

Flatglass rooflights create a beautiful glow of light

Marks Barfield Architects and main contractor Gilbert-Ash chose Roofglaze to design, manufacture, and install 63 bespoke Flatglass rooflights. With this in mind, the specification was to provide nearly 300m2 of natural daylighting to the building all year round. The goal is to increase the energy savings that underline the sustainable, eco-friendly ethos of the project. With the result that the Mosque itself is magnificently naturally lit, designed to require no artificial lighting during daylight hours. Above all the concept of the mosque is centred around nature. Large rooflights topping off the spectacular timber roof trees allow light to shine into the Cambridge Mosque prayer hall. So as to project shadows onto the floors and walls, and create a beautiful natural glow of light.

In a partnership that exemplifies the convergence of architectural prowess and innovation, Marks Barfield Architects and main contractor Gilbert-Ash turned to Roofglaze for the design, fabrication, and installation of a bespoke collection of 63 Flatglass rooflights. A remarkable feat, these rooflights were tailored to bathe the interiors in natural radiance, unfurling nearly 300 square meters of daylight throughout the year. The driving force behind this endeavor was to amplify the energy-saving quotient that serves as the bedrock of the project’s sustainable and eco-friendly essence. The outcome is a mosque that stands as a testament to the harmony between design and nature, brilliantly illuminated by the sun’s embrace and thoughtfully crafted to require no artificial lighting during daylight hours.

Central to the essence of the mosque is the homage it pays to nature. The large rooflights crowning the magnificent timber roof trees become vessels of light, channeling rays into the prayer hall. In a choreography of light and shadow, they paint intricate patterns upon floors and walls, conjuring a mesmerizing natural luminance that envelops the space. In essence, these rooflights are the conduits through which nature itself becomes a design element, orchestrating an atmosphere of unparalleled beauty.

This collaboration, uniting architectural ingenuity, craftsmanship, and Roofglaze’s expertise, has birthed a space where light is not just a utilitarian element but a canvas upon which the mosque’s ethos and nature’s elegance intertwine. It’s a manifestation of what can happen when creativity meets precision – a mosque that radiates with a divine glow, a testament to the seamless union of design and the natural world.

Specification

The design brief dictated that the large 2700mm x 2700mm rooflights in the prayer hall must be designed as single large pane units. Otherwise sub-dividing the glass would introduce additional unwanted shadows. Additionally, all rooflights were specified to be classified as a non-fragile design to CWCT TN66 & TN67 Class 1. Roofglaze was selected based on their experience with technically and logistically complex projects, allowing the team to overcome key challenges. In particular, Roofglaze also undertook project-specific testing to prove compliance with the Architect’s and Engineers’ specifications.

Roofglaze manufactured prototypes of the huge 7.29m2 single-pane rooflights to undertake specific non-fragility testing at the BRE (British Research Establishment). Thereby proving their robustness and safety. The required testing aimed to verify that the glass rooflights were non-fragile compliant with CWCT TN66 & TN67 Class 1. In essence, a non-fragile rooflight is designed to hold its integrity and save lives. For this reason, it prevents people or objects from accidentally falling through it when accessing roof areas not designed for regular foot traffic.

The rooflights, which incorporated laminated glass with SGP / Ionomer high-strength interlayer, passed the tests the first time. Additionally, they achieved the highest CWCT non-fragility rating of Class 1. This means that they are safe to be walked on for occasional cleaning or maintenance activities.

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Matthew Wingrove from Marks Barfield Architects praised the rooflights and Roofglaze’s technical knowledge. He Quotes: “It was really important to us to have a fully naturally lit space, not only for sustainability reasons but also to create a sense of calmness and stillness, appropriate for a time of worship and meditation.”

Conclusion

Roofglaze’s bespoke Flatglass rooflights are an integral part of the mosque. Worshippers can look up at the sky and the heavens in contemplation. Roofglaze’s flexibility and knowledge helped to overcome technical challenges. For example, the glass inter-layer lamination comes in a maximum of 2.7m wide rolls, but they needed marginally more than this to suit the geometry of the tree columns and expressed roof structure. With Roofglaze’s support, they overcame these limitations by designing an insulated timber upstand with a stepped lid on which they could sit the rooflight frame down. The successful partnership led to great teamwork, and Matthew Wingrove from Marks Barfield Architects would be happy to collaborate with Roofglaze on future projects.

The success of this integration wasn’t without its challenges. Roofglaze’s adaptability and expertise played a pivotal role in surmounting technical hurdles. An example of this collaboration is seen in the inter-layer lamination of glass, which typically comes in rolls with a maximum width of 2.7 meters. However, the project’s unique geometry required a slightly wider expanse. Roofglaze’s unwavering support came to the fore, ingeniously designing an insulated timber upstand with a stepped lid. This solution offered the perfect platform for the rooflight frame, transcending the limitations of standard dimensions.

This partnership transcended the ordinary, becoming a journey marked by camaraderie and shared expertise. Matthew Wingrove from Marks Barfield Architects, an integral part of this endeavor, expresses his satisfaction and willingness to continue this collaboration. The marriage of Roofglaze’s innovation and the architectural vision of the mosque not only produced a tangible structure but also kindled a sense of unity and possibility, extending an invitation to future collaborations that illuminate both spaces and souls.

A Cambridge Landmark

The architects chose High-spec Roofglaze rooflights to maximize light and space in the property, reduce heat loss, and allow maximum solar gain. They incorporated rooflights throughout the property and used natural light to brighten darker areas, such as the space above the beautiful walnut stairs that lead to the bedrooms.

A large rooflight and luxury brass fixtures and fittings enhanced an elegant bedroom with an ensuite bathroom on the first floor. Additionally, the architects flooded the large, modern kitchen with natural daylight by using a rooflight, illuminating the kitchen island below. The impressive kitchen space features state-of-the-art built-in appliances and impeccable functional details.

Throughout the property, the architects orchestrated a symphony of light using these rooflights. They skillfully employed natural light to dispel shadows in areas that craved brightness, such as the expanse above the exquisite walnut staircase that gracefully winds its way to the bedrooms. The result is an ethereal illumination that transcends the ordinary, shaping spaces that uplift the spirit.

On the first floor, an enchanting bedroom is transformed into a haven of sophistication through the interplay of a generously sized rooflight and opulent brass fixtures and fittings. The presence of an ensuite bathroom creates a seamless fusion of luxury and convenience.

The architects’ prowess extends to the heart of the home – the modern kitchen. Here, the infusion of natural light takes center stage, facilitated by a strategically placed rooflight that bathes the kitchen island below in radiant brilliance. This canvas of light accentuates the state-of-the-art built-in appliances and meticulous functional details that define the kitchen’s character.

Achievements

The city of Cambridge boasts a true landmark building, the Cambridge Mosque. The mosque sets an admirable example worldwide by emphasizing sustainability, green energy, and the use of environmentally-friendly materials. If you would like to learn more about the design and specification of the rooflight, please contact our team at 01480 474 797.

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