Friday Saturday Sunday
Architects Dan Leon, Matthew Lloyd, and Shahed Saleem first met at a Three Faiths Forum event in 2009, and, having much in common, continued to meet up over the next few years, during which time the idea of a shared prayer space emerged: not a typical multi-faith space such as those found in hospitals and airports, but a single enclosure containing a church, a synagogue, and a mosque. Religion is difficult and complex, and different religions differ in beliefs and in practice; the underlying idea here is not that differences should be disregarded, nor that all faiths are or should be one. It is rather that these three faiths have an entwined and symbiotic series of relationships, and a history of tolerance and co-existence greater than their history of conflict.
Referring to the history of religious buildings and cities that the three faiths have shared—from Jerusalem to Istanbul, Seville, and East London—they have designed a worship space for the three Abrahamic Faiths, incorporating the basic liturgical requirements of each faith into the design.
The church has a nave, altar, font, and seats; the synagogue faces Jerusalem and has a bimah and ark, and seats on separate sides for men and women (when used by Orthodox Jews, other seating is possible); the mosque faces Mecca, is carpeted for kneeling, has a central mihab, and separates the prayer hall for men and women. The roof, a simple plane, is held up by a curving, tree-like structure springing from a single point in the plan.
On Friday, the building is a mosque, on Saturday, a synagogue on Saturdays, and a church on Sundays. During the rest of the week, the building would be open to all for reflection and prayer. Our current thinking is that the space would be realized, in the first instance, as a temporary (perhaps mobile) structure, transportable to other cities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. We are currently exploring the possibility of locating FSS in the river-facing quadrangle of King’s College London, behind Somerset House.
You can find a link to a video from the architects proposal here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm2FsgVlgU8 (Created for and Exhibited at 3FF’s ‘Urban Dialogues’ Exhibition 2012).