The makeLab team recently completed an international design competition for the New Central Mosque of Pristina. This was a huge step for the team since it involved communicating with multiple overseas teams. The makeLab participated with POLIS University of Albania and an Italian firm, IT3, along with Italian architect, Antonello Stella. Although the teams were assigned specific responsibilities, the design of the mosque was discussed by all members and the conceptual approach took weeks of continuous communication with all groups. The makeLab began initial design concepts two months ago and generated iterations for the Italian firm to utilize during the design process. The makeLab team kept in contact with both teams through weekly video chats. The frequent communication allowed the group to maintain a strong relationship with the firm despite the challenge of working long distance.
Early in the design process, the design team set out to incorporate a screen that both responded to sunlight and highlighted the religious aspect of the mosque. The team began by designing small scale iterations of the screen in order to determine what pattern and material would be feasible for the design. The screen’s pattern was determined through analysis of the sunlight and existing site context. Renderings of the structure with the screen were produced in order to generate discussions about the screen and how it related to its counterparts. Once the design phase was complete, IT3 sent a digital model to the makelab team, who then constructed a physical scaled model. In just three days the makelab team milled out and constructed the polystyrene model. The 1” = 500’ model was fabricated using the makeLab’s CNC to cut sheets of styrene. Upon completion, the model was shipped to Albania for the final submission along with renderings and drawings completed by IT3 and POLIS University.
This overseas design challenge was a healthy challenge for the makeLab. The three teams’ rigor and dedication proved to be vital to the success of the project. Regardless of the distance between the design teams, all were able to work in a cohesive manner to produce a strong and comprehensive design for the competition. The success of the project and the ability for the process to remain fluid and efficient opens new doors to the possibility of more international projects to come.