Light-transmitting concrete makes this Abu Dhabi mosque glow

Architects in Abu Dhabi have used an illuminating concrete on the façade of the Al Aziz Mosque – it glows brightly with the 99 different names of God

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Al Reem Island, a natural island off of the coast of Abu Dhabi, is home to the Al Aziz Mosque, which boasts and innovative concrete façade that is illuminated at night. Designed by the APG Architecture and Planning Group, the concrete façade illuminates calligraphic Arabic letters with the 99 names of God as described in the Quran.

To achieve the illuminating effect, APG hired the services of German lighting company Lucem. An LED light transmitting optics system is concealed on the rear side of the concrete façade and Arabic letters are carefully arranged on the outer surfaces of the modules. So when the LED system is activated, the light emanating from the LEDs shines through to the outer surfaces of the letters.

The lighting is seamlessly blended into the natural stone face used on the Al Aziz Mosque.The backlit concrete facade glows differently throughout the day: the LEDs display a warm-sand colour during the daytime, a more earthy tone during the night, and a grey colour in the early morning.

 “A mosque is a message in itself that should take you away from the materialistic everyday world and bring you closer to the metaphysical aspect of life and to God,” said Yasser Fouad, the architect behind the Al Aziz Mosque design. “The wall is alive and part of the message, it feels like it’s reciting the names of God along with the visitor himself, a living breathing part of the whole experience of worshipping God in prayer,” he says.

The 99 different names of Allah were first drawn by an experienced calligrapher and then digitized and distributed across different elevations of the building. The panels are weatherproof to withstand the extreme temperatures of Abu Dhabi.