Meditation House

DesignerMZ Architects
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The Meditation House is a place of contemplation and retreat blending into its natural rocky surrounding. The timelessness of the rugged landscape called for a ‘noninvasive’ architecture taking advantage of the strong character of the site rather than challenging it. Like a giant fallen rock nestled on the edge of the hill, the meditation house and its adjacent prayer hall – Muṣallā – create a dialogue with both nature and God, reflecting the owner’s sensitivity towards the environment and his relationship with God. The house design is a pure geometric stone mass with basic structure. A crack in the center of the roof hosts a narrow stairway making its way up through the sloped hill in a natural linear trail, cutting into the rocky escarpment. A dark cave-like passage leads to the rock-embedded Muṣallā, a roofless vertical rectangular volume tilted in the direction of Mecca and immersed in daylight. Dug from the top of the cliff into the profoundness of earth, the single chamber has a simple and austere interior paying tribute to God’s spiritual essence. As all sounds from the outside world are shut out, a great silence encompasses the Muṣallā allowing a return to the bosom of nature and enhancing the praying and meditation experience. While such a scheme is seemingly unfamiliar in Islamic religious architecture, it embraces respectfully the main archetypal mosque components and conveys explicitly the message of Islam. Connecting between earthly and spiritual realms, the Meditation House is meant to engender a distinctive feeling of peace, harmony and humbleness.

About Designer

MZ Architects is a multi-award winning architecture firm founded and lead by Marwan Zgheib since 2002. Initially based in Qatar, the firm won several architectural competitions and had the opportunity to acquire extensive experience in designing and developing high-rise buildings in the midst of the construction boom in the country. Within a few years, MZ Architects became one of the leading architecture and consultancy groups in Qatar and in the Gulf, with a regional office in Abu Dhabi. In 2007, MZ Architects’ headquarters were reassigned in Lebanon as an architecture and urban planning firm