Description of a Historical Building: Al-Rifa'i Mosque

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1. Describe the formal and spatial character of Alrafa'i Mosque in Cairo.

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Al-Rifa'i Mosque is among the largest mosques in Cairo Egypt. The mosque was designed to accommodate as many people as possible and also to house the royalties in life or after death. The mosque uses a unique combination of architectural styles. Visiting the Midan Al-Qalaa, one cannot miss seeing Al-Rifa'i Mosque which is juxtaposed with the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan which is relatively large but dwarfs in the presence of Al-Rifa'i Mosque. The4mosque is also the main resting place for many Egyptian royal family members including King Farouk and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi the last Shah of Iran

The building design boasts of a melange of Muslim architectural styles borrowed from the early Mamluk period of Egyptian history. The building has a dome just like other mosques and a minaret to help house as many people as possible. It also has a very large prayer hall to accommodate people, allow free movement and provide solace while praying. It also has a specially designed shrine which contains the remains of al-Rifai, Ali Abi-Shubbak and Yahya al-Ansari

The spatial and functional characteristics of the mosque are simple. The mosque layout supports its function because to the Muslims, the mosque is a place of prayer (ibada). However, this one is also used as a final resting place of various royalties. The physical space of the mosque involves a large tract of land which is currently used as a public space for meetings, prayer, and masjid (prostration). The formal design allows or easy prostration during ibada. The Muslims are never tied to specific place, or space but time that is why the masque has a very wide space for the congregants prostration. The mosques are also designed in such a way that the qibla (worshiper) can easily face Mecca as the position of the imam during ibada is to face the Mecca thereby leading the prayers. On entering the edifice, the umma can easily identify the qiblah, the direction of Mecca and the prostration position.

2. Discuss the cultural, social and political contexts; material and structural technology; relevant precedents and influences.

The mosque is a place of worship. As such, it serves a social purpose for meetings, and prayers. This is served by the larges layout, spaces, and the minerals. The mosques design is inspired by Prophet Muhammads house. The building follows the hypostyle mosque, with a large dome, and the minarets, and the inner Sahn. The masque also has a maqsura form the leaders, and the minbar to serve the cultural functions. The precedence is allowed by the distributedness of the permeability as the ummah can flexibly and efficiently follow the organization of the prayers as well as the circulation. The many and large entrances was inspired by the message of the Muslim that people of all creed should be free to worship. The materials used were mainly repurposed for use in this mosque

3. Explain why and how you relate to it, where you would like to place your historic building and why you have selected the particular site.

It is related to me because of the Islamic heritage. I would like to place the building next to the library which is on the central of our campus. When built next to the library; the visitors can easily access the key areas, and experience the aura, and grandeur of the Muslim architectural styles.

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