Sancaklar Mosque – Emre Arolat Architects


Close your eyes for a moment and think of a ‘mosque’.

As you think, an image will probably appear behind your closed eyelids. What does it look like?

Let me guess.

A mosque, probably a massive one, with a central dome and conical minarets around it. A classical 16th century Ottoman mosque form, like one of the Mimar Sinan’s masterpieces.

Well, then be ready to challenge your mind.

Sancaklar Mosque, located in Buyukcekmece, redefines the architectural traditions by focusing only on the “essence of a religious space” rather than adhering to the conventional forms.

As if to emphasise the spirituality, the building provokes the introversion through its half-buried almost sunken structure topographically adjusted to its surrounding. The prismatic minaret in the garden enclosed with horizontal walls are the only parts visible of the mosque.


Sancaklar Mosque Terrace


Once you enter the garden, by each step down the slope you feel the isolation from the chaos of daily life and merge with nature. Following the end of the terraced steps tufted with grass, a peaceful sound of slowly flowing water welcomes you. The minimalistic design of the building revealed by the combination of concrete and light grey stones smooths the mood while the general scenery is softened by daylight beams.


Sancaklar Mosque_Water


The naturally curved path then directs you to the cave-like designed prayer hall having its inspiration from the the cave of Hira, where the prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran. The hall, relinquished of the excessive ornaments and decorations, enables the full concentration and peacefulness.


Sancaklar Mosque Prayer Hall


With this outstanding project, in 2013 Emre Arolat was rewarded as ‘Completed Buildings – Religion” Category Winner by the World Architecture Festival (WAF).