Mamluki Lancet Mosque, located in the city of Al-Masayel in Kuwait, is a modern building inspired by the traditional Mamluki architecture of Islamic Cairo.
The design of the mosque is based on the idea to take a series of giant squares and arrange them in a way that aligns with Qibla – the direction towards the Kaaba in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, which is used in prayer. The five stone squares, stacked atop each other at progressive offsets, resembling a rotation, represent the five daily prayers and symbolise the alignment towards the foundation of Islamic faith.
Kuwait-based architect Jassim Al-Saddah’s architectural practice Babnimnim Design Studio won the bid to design the mosque in 2021. Notable for its contemporary take on historic Islamic architecture, Babnimnim’s spectacular stacked design is centred around a half dome engraved intricately with metalwork and the symbolic Islamic crescent moon, while a tall minaret extends from the central axis, calling worshippers to enter the building below. The facade is punctuated with minimalist lancet cutouts in a way that emulates the style of classic Mamluki mosques, as does the subtle grey stone palette.
A massive arched wooden door connected to a half dome welcomes worshippers inside a sacred space lit by natural light that seeps through wells in the series of smaller half domes atop the building. Thanks to the unique stacked structure, no pillars are visible in the interior, leaving an open, well-light cavern for visitors to arrive into.
The interiors feature a series of lower stone masses and higher masser in white that create a lightening effect, while Quranic inscriptions in the style of a medieval calligraphic Islamic script called Thuluth adorn the walls and an adaptable sliding partition that separates the male and female areas.
A calm and minimalist space, the modern yet richly symbolic interiors match the contemporary exteriors