ABOUT THE QATAR FACULTY OF ISLAMIC STUDIES (QFIS): The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies is a profoundly spiritual building that communicates and imparts Islamic values and education in a setting that is modern and progressive. The narrative of QFIS draws attention to the comparative forms of ‘knowledge and light,’ which manifest through the spiral detailing of the building. This also includes the multitude of pathways which bind faculty and teaching space (knowledge) to the ambience of the mosque (light). In particular, the passage between the faculty and the mosque is representative of the journey towards lumination, which is further reinforced through the use of calligraphy and scripture from the holy Qurán. The building visibly challenges prejudices against Islamic architecture which is often heavily linked to design traditions of the past.
The QFIS structure was developed by reworking the historical ‘Kulliyya,’ or ‘place where all knowledge is sought,’ to provide a progressive learning environment which places Qatar at the forefront of contemporary Islamic discourse, through the provision of modern Islamic architecture. The narrative and visual build-up of light naturally leads students and visitors from classrooms and learning spaces, to the main hall and mosque area. Again, calligraphy and text from the holy Qur’an strengthens the continuous thread from mosque to faculty, and externally into the landscaped Islamic four part garden.
The QFIS design incorporates the achievements of Islam, Islamic art, architecture and science. Purposely, calligraphy runs from the mihrab (the point closest to Mecca, toward which the congregation faces to pray) throughout the entire building, representing the knowledge which derives from Islam. The themed garden is based on an interpretation of Jannah, or ‘paradise’ with its four rivers of wine, milk, honey and water.
- The building comprises two basement levels and five floors offering classrooms, faculty offices, exhibition space and an auditorium.
- The structure covers an area of nearly three hectares and fuses cutting-edge design with sustainable practice.
- The building was shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival 2012.
- The mosque has the capacity to hold some 1,800 people in its indoor prayer halls and outdoor courtyard.
- Two large minarets extend out of one side of the structure, rising some 90m in the air in the direction of Makkah.
- 2,000 tons of steel were used to construct the minarets.
- The mosque along with its outer courtyard, is supported by five pillars which constitute the five pillars of Islam.
- Islamic calligraphy is at the heart of the building, inscribed on almost every element of the structure’s surface, including roofs, ceramic tiles and glass windows.
- Water is another element used throughout the building. Four streams flow through the building’s exterior and interior, inspired by the rivers of paradise as described in the Holy Qur’an.