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Ground Zero mosque likened to Superman’s HQ

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Ground Zero mosque likened to Superman’s HQ

| architecture, architecture critic | October 04, 2010

Do you agree?  As a building design professional what is your critique of this design?  This author is not interested in your political views on whether you agree the mosque should or should not be built.

Hat tip to UK Telegraph.

Futuristic designs for an Islamic centre and mosque near the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York have been unveiled to widespread expert acclaim.

The sketches showed a 16-storey building wrapped in a honeycomb of abstract shapes.

The building was compared by some to the Fortress of Solitude, the crystalline headquarters of Superman depicted in comic books.

Others suggested that some of the shapes resembled the Jewish symbol of the Star of David. The company behind the development pointed out that the hexagram is also used in Islam, as the Seal of Solomon, as well as in Christianity and other religions.

Sharif El-Gamal, the developer, said: “We want to have a marriage between Islamic architecture and New York City. We want to do something that is green and cool.”

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About the author

After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.

7 Responses to "Ground Zero mosque likened to Superman’s HQ"
  • Todd Larson October 4, 2010

    Eww! Looks like a piece of giant sponge cake. Sort of a free-form version of that prefab cinderblock pattern screen Edward Durell Stone stuck on his New York townhouse 50-something years ago, disregarding his neighborhood’s historical context. I’m not sure how appropriate the Mosque is for this particular site, but only for stylistic, not political, reasons.

  • Mary Snyder October 4, 2010

    The things that come to mind when I look at the renderings of the proposed Mosque:
    1.) I would hate to be the person reviewing the shop drawings for the facade of the building.
    2.) Pigeon control with all of those honeycomb windows will be a challenge.
    3.) Wonder how Mecho Shades could be installed.
    4.) How they will wash the windows?
    5.) What’s Green about it?

  • Nenad October 5, 2010

    Regardless of the political situation and the climate change, I think this building as an object will enliven the Park Place and the surrounding. There are many shoddy and inefficient buildings around; one of them being the IRS Manhattan office. Now, in terms of program it is difficult to access how successful is the design in relationship to the context and the program. Nevertheless the area is dotted with many churches from different epochs, which, I believe, do better service to tourists than to faithful or wall street gamblers. So in this sense I think it is appropriate since it would exude the spirit of cosmopolitanism that New York embodies.

  • Roger Kopet October 5, 2010

    The morphology used in the facade is indicative of this time in world Architecture, as it is fundamentally connected to the computer in its complexity and ability for complex forms to be built.
    These reasons, make the proposed design relevant.
    It is also poetically, reminiscent of the traditional, embroidered “scull cap”, worn in many instances by people of the Muslem faith.
    However, I do feel that it (the Facade design) does not fit well to the site and seems a bit cumbersome and forced onto the existing condition with regard to it’s neighboring context and neighbors.

  • Frank Riepe October 5, 2010

    I think it is sad that a project that has such political problems in bringing what some believe to be an alien cultural element to NYC has architects that have created the appearance of just that: an alien presence in NYC. Their goal should have been to make this cultural center completely at home architecturally in this neighborhood. Their narcissism will be the undoing of this project.

  • Throwink December 6, 2010

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  • Todd Larson December 21, 2010

    I have moderated my views on this building, for this isn’t the first time radical architecture that breaks the mold of its squarely traditional surroundings has come upon the scene in New York. Remember the glass slabs of Gordon Bunshaft’s Lever House and Mies Van der Rohe’s Seagram Building, the organic swoops and swirls of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, and the deconstructivist quirk of Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum? All were reviled when dedicated but are now revered for their daring originality. I’m sure the same will come to pass for the unique webwork of the Muslim mosque in time.

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