Faith in the City: Symposium

Thurs 11 Nov 2.00-6.00pm

A day of debate and discussion following Faith in the City's opening keynote lecture. The AF hosted an afternoon of ideas and case studies of recent mosque and faith building design from across Europe, alongside a close investigation into historic precedents for the integration of minorities within the urban context and a suggestion of possible progressive future scenarios. 

An exploration of the current contemporary moment and a platform for discussion of alternative ways in which architecture can give form to faith and aid in navigating the dynamics between organisations, communities and their neighbours; private practice and the public communication of belief. 

The seminar sessions looked at architects' struggles between tradition and modernity in mosque design, the role that architecture can play in integrating faith based minorities, the place of religion in a broadly secular Western urban fabric, and the differences between British, European and other Western contexts.

With contributors including:

Michel Abboud, architect, Principal of SOMA; architectural consultants for New York's Park51 Islamic Cultural Centre 

Ergün Erkoçu, architect, author, and Creative Director, Concept 0031 (The Hague) and Cihan Bugdaci, Director, Gentlemen A.R.T.  Architects of the Polder Mosque (unrealised) and co-authors of the book The Mosque: Political, Architectural and Social Transformations

Foreign Architects Switzerland, a platform for alternative ideas, projects, and people; responsible for the post-minaret-ban ideas competition for an Islamic Centre in Zurich

Lukas Feireiss, curator, writer, artist and editor, Studio Lukas Feireiss (Berlin). Editor of Closer To God: Religious Architecture and Sacred Spaces and Beyond Architecture: Imaginative Buildings and Fictional Cities

Alen Jasarevic, architect and founder, Jasarevic Architekten (Mering, Germany); architects of the Penzberg Islamic Forum

Ali Mangera, architect and founder, Mangera Yvars Architects (London/Barcelona); architects of the experimental, un-built and highly contested Abbey Mills Mosque, originally due to be located near the East London's Olympic site

Dr. Noah Nasser, Acting Director, Urban Renaissance Institute, University of Greenwich. Founder, Centre for Urban Design Outreach and Skills (CUDOS), Birmingham City University 

Ziauddin Sardarwriter, broadcaster, cultural critic, Visiting Professor, School of Arts, City University, London

Symposium Format

- Sarah Ichioka

Chaired by Abbas Nokhasteh
- Lukas Feireiss: Amazing Grace - On the Religious Building as Bearer of Meaning in the 21st Century
- Foreign Architects Switzerland: Another Shitty Day in Paradise

Chaired by Dr Noha Nasser
- Alen Jasarevic: The Penzberg Islamic Forum (via video)
- Ergün Erkoçu and Cihan Bugdaci: The Poldermosque - A Pluricultural Reality

Chaired by Ziauddin Sardar
- Ali Mangera: The Abbey Mills Mosque
- Ali Mangera and Michel Abboud in conversation
- Closing panel discussion with the day's participants

Followed by a drinks reception in The Skyroom (AF Rooftop) for participants and audience.

Image: Ceci n'est pas Un Minaret. Courtesy Frei+Saarinen Architekten / Foreign Architects Switzerland

Download press release here