Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Executive Architects
Halcrow Group

Interior Architects
Spatium Architects

Allan Toft

Lars Kirstein


Award of Excellence, IALD Awards, 2010 (Exterior Lighting)

Radiance Award, IALD Awards, 2010 (Exterior Lighting)

Project of the Year, PLDR, 2009 (Interior Lighting)

Award of Excellence, IES Illumination Awards, 2009 (Interior Lighting)

Award of Merit, International Association of Lighting Designers, 2009 (Interior Lighting)

Commended, International Project, The Lighting Design Awards, 2009 (Interior Lighting)

Finalist, FX International Design Awards, 2009 (Exterior Lighting)

Middle East Project of the Year, MELDA, 2008 (Interior Lighting)

Public Building Category Winner, MELDA, 2008 (Interior Lighting)

Architecture + Environment

The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi is a project defined by light: the extraordinary building attaches special symbolic importance to light. We were approached to produce an entire lit vision for the project, inside and out, and the result we delivered provides the City with an extraordinary landmark impact, as well as deep cultural and religious sensitivity.

With the Islamic religious calendar based on the lunar cycle, we looked to the moon as our source of inspiration and this became a unifying element in the lighting design.

Starting with a poetic look - the impression of a full moon with wisps of cloud moving across its face - as the lunar cycle progresses, so the building also alters in character. It is bathed in cool white light at the full moon, shifting colour every two evenings, growing gradually bluer as the moon wanes.

On the fourteenth evening the mosque is lit in deepest blue to signify darkness - and yet the viewer is never able to perceive the building changing from one colour to the next.

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