Atelier Masomi and Studio Chahar have converted a former mosque into a library and neighborhood centre that sits opposite a new mosque it created for the rural village of Dandaji, Niger.

Niamey-primarily based Atelier Masomi and Studio Chahar created the library inside the former mosque, which had fallen into disrepair and was no longer huge adequate to assistance the village’s expanding population, to save it from demolition.

“I knew the mosque was anything of a jewel. Each architecturally [and] mainly because I identified out that the mason who created that mosque won an Aga Khan award for architecture for a incredibly equivalent mosque,” mentioned Atelier Masomi founder Mariam Kamara.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

“We seriously wanted to bring it back to exactly where it had been. Basically the developing was melting. It hadn’t been maintained in additional than 20 years. The facade had entirely disappeared,” continued Kamara.

The mosque was transformed into a library at the suggestion of members of the neighborhood, with the original mason’s assistant on the project enlisted to assist with restoration of the facade of the old mosque.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

All of the facades have been rebuilt, as properly as huge sections of the roof and an upgrade of the internal structure.

All structural additions to the new library can be removed or reorientated. The bookshelves develop dividers for private and group study spaces, and a wood and metal mezzanine floor was added to develop additional space. Additional classrooms have been added to permit for neighborhood meeting spaces and adult literacy classes.

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Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

The library has been created to interact with the new mosque, also created by Atelier Masomi, with each buildings on the identical north-south axis.

The library’s main entrance, positioned to the south, faces the mosque’s main entrance, positioned on its north-facing facade.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

“We wanted to allow a dialogue and also to dramatise anything that we really feel is going on all through the complete globe among religious and secular know-how,” mentioned Kamara.

“You know, the reality that there is a feeling that the two can’t coexist in the identical space.”

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

Kamara collaborated with Iranian architect Yasaman Esmaili, founder of Studio Chahar, on the Dandaji project.

“We each come from Muslim nations, so it this complete dialogue among Islam and secular know-how was seriously exciting for us,” mentioned Kamara.

“One particular of the most significant issues in Islam is the pursuit of know-how. It is really a requirement and but it is by no means talked about. We approached the project from that point of view.”

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

“We attempted to establish a hyperlink via landscape style, so the paths lead from one particular to the other rather naturally,” Kamara told Dezeen.

“The facades also face each and every other. You can be in the library and then when it is prayer time you just stroll on this practical path that requires you straight into the mosque.”

Adults applying the library will naturally have to check out the mosque through one particular of the 5 everyday prayers, guaranteeing there is often a all-natural movement of persons among the two.

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“It was just very simple issues like that,” mentioned Kamara. “It did not will need any significant gesture connecting the two. It was about ritual and habit.”

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

The new mosque was constructed applying locally fabricated compressed earth bricks, which call for incredibly tiny upkeep compared to the adobe of the current developing.

The compressed earth bricks share a lot of of the thermal qualities of mud bricks, with none of the upkeep. The thermal mass of the compressed earth bricks and integrated all-natural ventilation via openings regulates the interior temperatures and removes the necessity for mechanised ventilation.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

“The material itself represents the position that we are taking on the supplies that we really should be applying in these types of climates, as opposed to just accepting that cement bricks are the rule of the day,” Kamara mentioned. “It is a less costly material it is additional adapted to the climate. It was just type of a no-brainer.”

No glass is applied anyplace in the two new buildings, as replacement panes would not simply be sourced, and lighting fixtures have all been selected from regional markets to guarantee they can be replaced locally and cheaply.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

The Dandaji mosque web-site has also been populated with vegetation fed by a drip irrigation technique that delivers a cooling impact. The irrigation technique utilizes an underground reservoir that captures rainfall in the wetter months of the year.

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Earlier this year Kamara was chosen by David Adjaye as his protege for the Rolex Art Initiative. In January, the two of them will check out Niamey to conduct a series of workshops to ascertain the path for a neighborhood centre in the capital city that will be created by Kamara beneath Adjaye’s guidance.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa

“We want to locate out about what persons want that we did not anticipate, or believe of issues that your typical cultural centre would not even have. In the function that I am attempting to make, the most significant point is speaking to the persons applying these spaces,” said Kamara.

“Otherwise it is just us as architects saying ‘here, this is what I believe you really should be performing and this is what I am going to give you. There you go, you happen to be welcome.’ That is anything that is incredibly unpleasant for me. We are not generating architecture for ourselves, so it would be preposterous to just decided on anything and go ahead and do it.”

Photography is by James Wang


Project credits:

Architecture firm: Atelier Masōmī and Studio Chahar
Design and style group: Yasaman Esmaili, Mariam Kamara
Creating contractor: Entreprise Salou Alpha et Fils
Engineering: URBATEC
Metal fabrication: Atelier de Technologie Métallique

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