After more than a decade in planning, the UK’s first green mosque opened to worshipers Wednesday, April 24, as architects say it will be a cultural bridge for Islam in the UK in the 21st century, The BBC reported.
“There has been an urgent need for a proper mosque in Cambridge, it’s an overdue idea,” spokesman Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad said.
“Cambridge is a global city but it’s been slow off the mark in having a multi-cultural space like this.”
The Central Mosque has been designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who won the original contract in 2009. In 2011, anonymous leaflets were posted through doors of houses close to the proposed site, urging people to object on grounds of potential congestion. However, Cambridge City Council said it received 50 letters opposing the plans – but more than 200 in support.
Planning permission was granted in 2012.
Construction Associate Sarah Duncan assisted CMT Design and Build Limited in drafting the development agreement, building contract, warranties, and appointments in order to bring the project to fruition and see the first phase of the development completed.
Ashtons Legal for business services has also advised on the construction of the mosque which started in September 2016 at Mill Road.
The mosque includes a prayer hall, ablution areas, and accommodation for its Imam’s family and visiting scholars. It boasts zero carbon on-site emissions, rainwater harvesting, and air source heat pumps.
Julia Barfield, the principal architect, said the idea was to create “a truly British mosque in the 21st Century”. “This mosque can be a cultural bridge, and takes the environmental message to one of the biggest faith communities in the world,” she said.
The new building will incorporate up to 80 parking spaces and designated space for 140 bicycles. There will be a café, teaching area and meeting rooms for use by the local Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
An eco, green, or sustainable building, refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle, from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
New technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener buildings. The common objective of eco-construction is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment.
Estimates in 2009 suggested a total of about 2.4 million Muslims over all the UK. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Muslims in Britain could now be around 3 million.
This article was originally published on aboutislam.net