The Amir Shakib Arslan Mosque (2016) is a newly constructed place of worship located in Moukhtara, in the Shouf mountains of Lebanon, designed by LE.FT Architects (Makram el Kadi and Ziad Jamaleddine). It offers a contemporary interpretation of the architectural typologies of a conventional mosque. The 100sqm mosque, commissioned by Walid Joumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), is a reincarnation of a mosque that once stood in the same village, albeit in a different location, and which was destroyed in 1823. Mokhtara is a village shared by a small community of Druze and Christians, neither of which typically pray in mosques, and exists somewhere in the space between a religious structure and a political gesture.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan collaborated on certain aspects of the mosque, particularly on non-architectural, yet aesthetic factors of its religious function. Again, working with the idea of the space being non-denominational, Abu Hamdan designed the prayer carpet, incorporating a design using an image of soundwaves taken from a recording of Qur’anic recitation. The artist stated “The carpet is a new kind of calligraphy, in the sense that it's a visual representation of spoken language and a means by which the form of the word takes precedent over its legibility. Moments in the soundwaves where the many names for "God" appeared were removed, in part to avoid the possibility of visitors stepping on the word but also to speak to the present absence of the divine that is so fundamental to the esoteric interpretations of Islam.
First four images by Iwan Baan (2016). Second four images by Dala Nasser (2018).