AL AZIZ MOSQUE, ABU DHABI 86 DESIGN FILE
AL AZIZ MOSQUE, ABU DHABI
Al Aziz Mosque on Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island
makes use of light-transmitting concrete to create an
unusual light show with projected calligraphy.
The mosque’s façade, designed and installed by
Germany’s Lucem Lichtbeton, bears the 99 different
names of God distributed on different elevations in
accordance with strict instructions in the Qur’an. The
calligraphy on each panel protrudes 30mm out of the
light-transmitting concrete. By day, shadows create
intriguing visuals on the stone façade. But the real
show starts at night, when the walls are backlit.
At dusk, LED lights installed behind the façade
panels are activated. The light is transmitted through
fibre optics to the external surface of the protruding
letters. Each façade element is a massive concrete
panel that is weatherproof and can withstand the
extreme temperatures usually encountered during
the summer months in the United Arab Emirates.
The surface of the façade elements has been treated
to resist sand erosion.
‘A mosque is a message in itself that should take you
away from the materialistic everyday world and bring
you closer to the metaphysical aspect of life and to
God,’ says Yasser Fouad of architects APG, designers of
the mosque. ‘The wall is alive and part of the message.
It feels like it’s reciting the names of God along with
the visitor himself, a living breathing part of the whole
experience of worshipping God in prayer.’
A specialist Islamic arts calligrapher was employed to
prepare the hand drawings for the 99 different names
of Allah, which were digitised by the project’s architects
and converted to Autocad format. Lucem then
prepared the individual moulds, arranged the fibre
optics and cast the panels in high strength concrete.
The panels measure on average 1,800 x 1,400mm and
weigh in at 300kg, with one panel measuring twice the
size. The result is a 515-square-metre external façade
with 207 elements.
Right: At night, the 99 names
of God are backlit by light from
LED sources channelled through
Below, left: By day, the
calligraphy is made visible by
shadows cast by the raised
Below, right: Each façade
element is a concrete panel
that is weatherproof and can
withstand extreme temperatures