Centre planned by Islamic group

Centre planned by Islamic group

By Glen Munro

Horticulture Week, 27 July 2006

A religious group is planning to build a £100m Islamic centre in east London with substantial landscaping features.

Abbey Mills Islamic Centre is the vision of the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat. The complex would occupy 50,000 sq m in the Lower Lee Valley. It has been described as a long, undulating building, influenced by the “nomadic structures and the tented cities” of Islam. At night, it would be illuminated by millions of translucent tiles.

Mangera Yvars, the south London-based architects’ firm behind the centre, has said landscaping will be a big component of the project. The centre would be surrounded by an Islamic garden, to include vegetable gardens at the rear of the site and a dining piazza overlooking the Channelsea River.

“It is a landscape structure, not an edifice,” said project architect Ali Mangera. “The theme is centred around Islamic gardens, where there are water features with cool, contemplative spaces of shade.”

There will also be a mosque courtyard on the first floor, an open courtyard on the dome of the mosque and an outdoor forum space that is intended as an inter-faith discussion area.

The contract for the landscaping has not yet been offered for tender and the budget is in the process of being reviewed, while the parameters of the site in conjunction with the Olympic Village are under discussion.

Tablighi Jamaat said the centre would be open to anyone, without any obligation to be a member to the group.