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.
Located in a predominantly residential area, the mosque is easily accessible by public transport and on foot and accommodates a congregation of up to 1000 men and women, offering inclusive, dedicated areas such as a café, teaching area and meeting rooms for use by Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Inspirational, Sustainable Architecture
This ecologically sensitive building is the first eco-mosque in Europe, featuring the latest conservation technology, green roofs, solar panels and water conservation measures.
Marks Barfield Architects expertly designed an architecturally inspirational building; a calm oasis, with beautiful Kufic calligraphy patterns within the brickwork, exquisite criss-crossed laminated timber support, natural wooden pillars opening like generous sized trees and impressive gardens with Cypress trees that offer a sense of peace and calmness to the visitors.
The 3-storey building scale and features will complement the surrounding built environment of the Mill Road area and the green open space will bring a new breath of fresh air to the neighbourhood. The Mosque surpasses Part L Building Regulations requirements for thermal insulation and airtightness, and it is very close to being a zero-carbon building.
Flatglass rooflights create a beautiful glow of light
Roofglaze were selected by Marks Barfield Architects and main contractor Gilbert-Ash to design, manufacture and install 63 bespoke Flatglass rooflights, providing nearly 300m2 of natural daylighting to the building all year round and increasing the energy savings that underline the sustainable, eco-friendly ethos of the project.
The Mosque is magnificently naturally lit, designed so that no artificial lighting will be necessary during daylight hours. The concept for the mosque is centred around nature. Light shines into the Cambridge Mosque prayer hall through large rooflights topping off the spectacular timber roof trees, projecting shadows on to the floors and walls, creating a beautiful natural glow of light.
The Marks Barfield Architects design brief dictated that the large 2700mm x 2700mm rooflights in the prayer hall must be designed as single large pane units as sub-dividing the glass would introduce additional unwanted shadows. In addition, all rooflights were specified to be classified as a non-fragile design to CWCT TN66 & TN67 Class 1.
Roofglaze were selected based on their experience with technically and logistically complex projects allowing the team to overcome key challenges, including undertaking project specific testing to prove compliance with the Architects and Engineers’ specification.
Roofglaze manufactured prototypes of the huge 7.29m2 single pane rooflights to undertake specific non-fragility testing at the BRE (British Research Establishment) to prove their robustness and safety.
The BRE features full scale demonstration buildings that have been developed by Industry partners. At the facility, building technologies are demonstrated, tested and researched to help achieve global building standards and guidelines.
For the Cambridge Mosque project, the required testing aim was to verify that the glass rooflights were non-fragile compliant to CWCT TN66 & TN67 Class 1. A non-fragile rooflight is designed to hold its integrity and save lives by preventing people or objects falling through it accidentally, when accessing roof areas not designed for regular foot traffic.
The rooflights, incorporating laminated glass with SGP / Ionomer high strength interlayer, passed the tests first time and achieved the highest CWCT non-fragility rating of Class 1, meaning that they are safe to be walked on for occasional cleaning or maintenance activities.
Matthew Wingrove from Marks Barfield Architects shared his thoughts on how the rooflights and Roofglaze’s technical knowledge benefited the project:
“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.
Roofglaze’s bespoke Flatglass rooflights are an integral part of the mosque. Worshippers can look up at the sky and the heavens in contemplation, surrounded by the natural light and outdoor connection provided by the rooflights.
We were pleased with Roofglaze’s flexibility and knowledge that has allowed to overcome technical challenges. The glass inter layer lamination comes in a maximum of 2.7m wide rolls and we needed marginally more than this to suit the geometry of the tree columns and expressed roof structure.
With Roofglaze’s support we overcame these limitations, working together to design an insulated timber upstand with a stepped lid, which we could sit the rooflight frame down on to.
This was a successful partnership, with great teamwork and we would be happy to collaborate with Roofglaze on future projects.”
A Cambridge Landmark
Cambridge Mosque is a true landmark building for the city of Cambridge. The emphasis on sustainability, green energy and environmentally-friendly materials is admirable and is a model to follow worldwide.