Architecture building bridges among contrasts

The whiteness of the new Islamic Religious and Cultural Centre will take any visitor by surprise, regardless from which direction they approach it. 

Photo: David Schreyer

Photo: David Schreyer

The complex, which may help expand the established narrow views on contemporary architecture of such objects, is located in a degraded urban area. A quick glance from a distance reveals the (temporary) contrast between the impeccably designed Islamic Centre and the surrounding decaying brick buildings, the brewery, the remains of building materials and the empty spaces between the railway tracks.

Bevk Perović arhitekti deservedly received Slovenia’s highest national architectural prize for the project. They succeeded in translating the architecture of the Islamic Centre into the European language with a high degree of grace and style. Thanks to the carefully considered choice of materials and the specific use of location, the project is not a copy of the architecture of religious objects as they are predominantly built in the Muslim world. The view from a distance of the 40m-high minaret from which the muezzin’s gentle call for prayer can be heard five times a day is set against the background of the Alps, another unusual contrast which we are not accustomed to seeing in our environment. The unusual presence of this religious object, however, remained so only on paper, for at this difficult location the architects have created an incredibly poetic, lyric space, which touches any visitor in a special and personal way.

Photo: David Schreyer

Photo: David Schreyer

A passer-by may get the impression that the five white cubes have been set on the location randomly. However, their positions are well considered. All the outer objects are set on the borders of the development land, while the central building became the centrepiece, thus assuming the role of the core of the complex. With its interior cupola, it is oriented towards Mecca in line with tradition. Its form reminds us of the Kaaba, the most sacred object in Islamic architecture, which the pilgrims circle seven times during their prayer. The quiet water surface with a symbolic meaning reflects the façade of the mosque.

Photo: David Schreyer

Photo: David Schreyer

The complete article is published in Autumn 2020 issue of Piranesi No. 42-43/Vol. 28.

Subscribe to printed magazine.

Project Data

Architectural office: Bevk Perović arhitekti d.o.o.

Bevk Perović project team: Matija Bevk, Vasa J. Perović, Christophe Riss, Ida Sedušak, Tina Marn, Andrej Ukmar, Irene Salord, Rok Gerbec, Blaz Goričan, Urban Petranovič, Davorin Počivašek, Maša Kovač

Architectural competition entry: 1st prize

Project: 2011-2019

Execution: 2015-2019

Client: Islamic Community in the Republic of Slovenia