Pegasus Group has secured planning permission for a contemporary mosque and madrasa (teaching hub) in Erdington, North Birmingham on behalf of the Ameenia Sultania Educational Trust.

The scheme replaces the existing madrasa which has been outgrown by the local Muslim community. The new building offers 700sqm of floorspace split over 4 storeys, comprehensively addressing the complex programme, a constricted triangular plot, and the various religious requirements including orientation towards Mecca.

The contemporary design also combines traditional Islamic architectural elements, including the intricate ‘Kufic’ calligraphy – the oldest form of Arabic script – with modern materials and construction techniques to retain and complement the local vernacular. The result features a metal clad and perforated minaret, providing a focal point to the busy junction, and offers a distinct, high-quality piece of modern Islamic architecture.

Exterior features include a combination of metal cladding and brick detailing, which give the building a sleek and modern look to achieve a balance between creating a local landmark along the busy A-road and addressing the sensitive residential context. The use of perforated screens adds an extra layer of texture to the façade, while also allowing natural light to filter into the interior spaces.

Soft landscaping in the form of hedgerows and trees combine with paving and stone detailing to create seating areas and a playful external space allowing some respite from the busy Tyburn Road traffic. A water feature adjacent to the minaret creates a focal point within the community garden, inspired by traditional Islamic geometry.

The building layout incorporates a number of user requirements and Mosque design principles, including dual entrances, washing facilities, prayer and teaching spaces.

The main prayer hall, along with the feature Mihrab (indicating the direction of Kaaba in Mecca), is accessed via a single storey entrance pavilion on Montague Road which incorporates the main entrance, community library and accessible WC. At the basement level is a secondary prayer hall, along with kitchen, washing (wudu­­) and restroom facilities for all user groups. The first and second floors provide teaching spaces and learning facilities for the community.

The Pegasus architecture team noted “Addressing the requirements of the community, the site and religious principles has been a complex but ultimately rewarding journey. The constraints have allowed just enough flexibility to respond to the brief in a holistic way and the result is a unique, distinguishable landmark fit for the needs of the community and context.

Designing something with such a specific set of requirements, on such an irregular and enclosed plot has been a welcome challenge and we’re very proud of the end result.”