‘the vanishing mosque’ by rux design all images courtesy of rux design and via traffic




new york-based design studio rux has won the ‘design as reform’ competition hosted by traffic, a dubai-based art and design collective. the architecture category of the multi-disciplinary competition called for a reinterpretation of the traditionalmosque with a variety of requirements such as an ablution area, a women’s prayer room, and communal spaces. rux’s design proposal, ‘the vanishing mosque’, plays with the idea of liberating the mosque from a building form and incorporating it directly into the fabric of the city, making it more visible, connected, and integral to the spiritual and cultural workings of a community.

rux: the vanishing mosque ‘in the evening, lights from residences and offices ni the surrounding buildings cast chance shadows across iconic architecture.’




the design features a 5000 m2 urban plaza which skews the city grid to forge a forced perspective view in the direction of mecca. the combined effect of the saw-tooth facades of the surrounding buildings as well as the angle of the structure makes it seem as if the plaza is vanishing into the horizon. the space created under the peeled up prayer plinth provides an ablution, an area for ritual washing.

rux: the vanishing mosque ‘the prayer plinth points in the direction of mecca, like a giant compass needle.’

rux: the vanishing mosque ‘white marble facades and deep shaded arcades create dynamic and contrasting lighting conditions. passersby glimpse the prayer scene while going about their day-to-day activities.’

rux: the vanishing mosque model the ablution (ritual washing area) beneath the raised prayer plinth

rux: the vanishing mosque ‘an aerial view of the plaza reveals that the forced perspective effect is actually created by a series of angled and distorted building facades.’

rux: the vanishing mosque pointing in the direction of mecca

rux: the vanishing mosque plan 5000 m2 public plaza with surrounding mixed use buildings

rux: the vanishing mosque section ‘the ground lifts up to reveal a cool shaded pool of water beneath the city floor. this area is used for rest, relaxation and ritual cleansing.’