National Mosque Malaysia Precedent Studies
Masjid Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
2. Site Context
3. Architectural Layout and Plan
4. Architectural Style Analysis 5. Construction Process
6. Architectural Elements
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Mosque Malaysia Precedent Studies
ARCHITECTURE CULTURE & HISTORY 2 [ ARC 60203]
Project 2: Web Book (Group & Individual)
Submission Date: Week 12, 18/11/2015
National Mosque Kuala Lumpur
Tan Wing Hoe (0319333)
Tay Jit Ying (0319002）
Too Mun Fai (0318214)
Woo Shir Ley (0317732)
1.0 Introduction............................................................................................................................ 3
2.0 Site Context............................................................................................................................ 7
3.0 Architecture Layout and plans................................................................................................ 19
4.0 Architectural Style Analysis:................................................................................................... 26
5.0 ConstructionProcess............................................................................................................. 38
6.0 Architectural Elements.......................................................................................................... 45
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 53
Site Context Analysis Tan Wing Hoe
Architectural Layout Of Building Woo Shir Ley
Architecture Style Analysis Tay Jit Ying
Introduction and Conclusion
Architectural Elements Too Mun Fai
Masjid Negara, National Mosque Kuala
The majestic National Mosque, or Masjid Negara, was built in 1965 as a symbol of
Malaysia’s recent independence. It is one of South East Asia’s largest and can hold up to
15,000 people. It is situated in Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens in the center of the city and
surrounded by swathes of beautiful gardens near the bird and orchid parks.
It was designed by a group of three architects and the eighteen-pointed star dome is
said to represent the thirteen states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. The main dome
is covered in thousands of blue and green tiles and there are 48 smaller green domes
dotting the courtyard inspired by the grand mosque in Mecca. The 240ft (74m) minaret
sounds the call to prayer that can be heard across Chinatown.
The National Mosque is located in the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, the National
Mosque is situated next to the Railway Station, Daya Bumi Building, General Post Malaysia,
the Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park and close to the Lake Gardens.
As a result of the independence of Malaya which was achieved without any
bloodshed, the National Mosque was built as a symbol of appreciation from the leaders and
people. Allahyarham YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman the First Prime Minister, proposed the
construction of this mosque. This mosque has been designed by Malay, constructed by
Chinese and Indian. It has become a symbol of unity and tolerance among the people
because it involved people of all races at the time. The cost of construction was covered in
part by donations from the public regardless of race, religion (Islamic, Christian, Buddha and
Hindus), or social standing aside from the funding from the federal government.
The people initially suggested naming the mosque after YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman’s
name. However, he did not agree with the suggestion and gave the name to the mosque
with National Mosque. Since its completion on 27 August 1965, National Mosque in Kuala
Lumpur, has become a majestic symbol of Islam in Malaysia. Before the existence of the
Shah Alam Mosque, National Mosque is one of the more prominent mosque in South-East
The mosque was officially opened by Tuanku Syed Putra Ibni Al-Marhum Syed
Hassan Jamalullail on 27 August 1965, 30 RabiulAkhir 1385 Hijrah.
The architectural concept of this mosque obviously portrays the Islamic
characteristics and the nationality of the citizens of Malaysia. The completion and
maintenance of the construction were done by a group of architects from Design and
Research Division, Federal Department of Public Works. It took almost three years to build
the National Mosque.
Mr. Baharuddin bin Abu Kassim, the main architect and a British architect named
Howard Ashley, did some research on several mosques at Pakistan, Iran, Turki, Saudi Arabia,
United Arab Republic and Spain before starting to design the National Mosque.
2.0 Site Context
Map of site context
DAYABUMI NATIONAL PLANETERIUM
ISLAMIC ART MUSUEM KTM HEADQUARTER
OLD RAILWAY STATION NATIONALMOSQUE
The Mosque was sited in a high-density townscape site open to the public, where it
blends in with the surrounding context, with Daya Bumi, KTM Headquarter, Kuala Lumpur
Railway Station and so on. Not only that, the mosque to be easily accessible and reachable
through different transportation system, which the railway just right next to the Masjid
Negara. The mosque is fully utilised by public.
Existing buildings surrounding the site such as the Gallowary Club, the Railway
Station, the council ofﬁce and the masonry construction organisation’s building were
demolished to make way for the project to allow it to blends into the surrounding
The choice of site appears to have been successful since the Mosque is strategically
located near public community areas and facilities, and to government ofﬁces. Since it is
built with no boundary walls and has multiple access points for pedestrians as well as
vehicular trafﬁc from all directions, it attracts continuous gatherings of large crowds and
worshippers even during public holidays. The building has become a focal point for office
workers from nearby areas to perform their religious duty, especially Friday prayers, and
urban residents are involved in communal programmes such as educational, social,
economic, welfare and judicial activities.
Beside, an underground passage that connects the National Mosque to the old
railway station that allow convenient for the worshipper in transportation due to the
limitation of parking spot in the National Mosque.
National Mosque situated nearby Pasar Seni station (KLJ) and Kuala Lumpur station (KTM).
At Pasar Seni station, after you get off the train and pass by the ticket counter, you
will see a bridge that links the station with Kuala Lumpur station. And the bridge across
Kelang river from Pasar Seni that allow public walk through the bridge until you see Kuala
Lumpur KTM station, do not enter the ticket counter over there, just go straight further until
you see a parking lot in front of Pos Malaysia building. You will see a door to an
underground tunnel that cross the Jalan Kinabalu. The mosque is situated at the end of the
tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, you will see this signage of National Mosque pointing.
The spatial organisation of the Mosque also con-tributes to it functioning as
a symbolic representation of the idea of unity. The planning layout designed portrays
various choices of path-ways, entry points, transverse nodes, and is deﬁned by multiple
connections of spatial segments. As a result, the ﬂow of movement within the spaces from
various entry points is not constricted and a lower level of control of movement within the
segments of spaces is achieved. This kind of spatial arrangement within the building
maximises circulation for the users.
Thus high social interaction exists within the main spaces such as the prayer hall,
open courtyards and veranda areas
In addition, the building that would retain a direct relationship with the environment
and would not be so overwhelming that it dominated
the existing context. This was because the main function of the building was to
accommodate the needs of the populace. The Mosque therefore has a ‘sense of place’ and
takes into account ‘the spirit of place and time’ having been designed in proportionate
scale, inside and out. The overall building form is not arranged in a hierarchical manner with
an extensive base or large-scale tapered roof to cover the main prayer hall.
Daya Bumi Building
The Dayabumi Complex is one of the major landmarks of Kuala Lumpur and was built
on land that was previously the site of the Malayan Railway workshops and depots from the
1900s until 1981. Construction began in January 1982 and was completed in February 1984.
The Dayabumi Complex is one of the first buildings to boast a Malaysian style of
First building in Kuala Lumpur to blend the modern lines physically required by high-
rise engineering, and Islamic motifs and arabesques. The building is criss-crossed with a
latticed grillwork of Moorish Islamic origin, and, as a whole, the architectural style is a
hybrid of Moorish and Byzantine artistic traditions, but with a palpably Malay character.
The building was built to resemble a mosque to blends into the site surrounding. The
exterior of the Dayabumi Complex allows the building to fit in well with neighbouring
buildings that are also inspired by Moorish and Byzantine artistic traditions, notably the
nearby Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The buildings of the Dayabumi Complex enjoy close
proximity to distinctively Islamic Kuala Lumpur landmarks such as the Federal House, the
Moorish-influenced old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, and the National Mosque. The
gleaming white marble structure incorporates Arabic elements into the modern high-rise
architecture, helping it to blend with the surrounding Moorish and Byzantine architecture.
MASJID NEGARA DAYABUMI
Today It houses government offices, a shopping arcade and has an annex that
houses the General Post Office
Old Railway Station
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is an almost fairytale Moorish-style building to the southeast
of the National Mosque. Located along Jalan Sultan, it used to be KL’s main railway hub until
2001 when Kuala Lumpur Sentral took over much of its role.
architectural style is Neo Moorish it’s mixture of western and Mughal styles. Adopting a
mixture of Eastern and Western styles. Opposite stands the Malaya Railway Administration
Building. Beneath the Islamic exterior, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station resembles a typical
glass and iron Victorian-era English railway building. The function of the building serves
The facade of the station is completely plastered, as opposed to buildings of similar
styles that opt for exposed brickwork, and painted in light colours (usually white or cream)
throughout its service. The platforms are covered by large steel-framed shelters, which
were initially shorter during the station's early operation.
The roofs were originally glazed, and were partially opened to allow smoke from
steam locomotives to escape; corrugated roof sheets served as replacements later in the
station's life. The sides of the platforms not adjoining the main building are surrounded by
walls constructed in the same style as the main building. The platforms and main building
are linked to each other via two underground passageways.
The design of the extended platform for the 1986 refurbishment of the station took
a more modernist approach, consisting simply of large concrete pillars supporting a latticed
roof and a ticket office on concrete slabs at the north end, suspended two stories above
ground. White walls and arches that serve as decorations to the extension are more alike
that of the Dayabumi complex than the original station. The new extension is connected to
Dayabumi via an elevated walkway.
Situated at the far corner along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and Jalan Perdana in Kuala
Lumpur, the Malayan Railway Administration Office. KTMB was designed by Arthur Benison
Hubback, a colonial-government architect who was at that time the Architectural Assistant
to the Director of Public Works.
The initial planning started in 1913 and construction began at 1914. However, due to
the impact from World War I and sluggish economy, construction progress was rather
sluggish and the building was only completed in November 1917 after the First World War
This building is located opposite the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station building,
separated by Jalan Hishamuddin. Initially, this building is used as FMS Railway Head
Administration Office. Later in 1946, it was known as “Malayan Railway Administration
Headquarters”, and in 1985 it is fully-utilized as KTM Berhad’s head office.
Building incorporated classicalelements in this building design and it features
articulated Islamic architectural elements such as Moorish as well as domes on top of each
building that can be found in mosques. The structural design of this building creates a
notable impression of Islamic architecture. Through its structure, the history of
transportation management and train administration can be unveiled. The Malayan Railway
Administration Office building structure is dominated with curves and towers and it adds to
the beauty of the surrounding buildings in Kuala Lumpur. This building is an example of
Moorish Revival architecture which reflects highly of the Ottoman and Mughal Empire
during late 13th and early 14th centuries with influence from Greek and Gothe architecture
in the 14th century.
KTMB head office has influence with Moorish architecture as one of the main
aesthetical criteria in conjunction with ‘Massive Building Program’ under the reign of Sir
WilliamMaxwell at Selangor. Moorish architecture is a design term used to describe the
articulated Islamic architecture, as Tanah Melayu is the Muslim country.
The architectural style was exported to British Malaya via British engineers and
architects influenced by Indo-Saracenic stylings in British India. During the design of a new
town hall for Kuala Lumpur in the late 19th century, C. E. Spooner, then State Engineer of
the Public Works Department, favoured a "Mahometan style" over a neoclassical one to
reflect Islamic mores in the region.
This hybrid stylistic architecture had a same similarity with Islamic architecture form
India. ‘Indo Saracenic’ style is referring to the Moorish Architecture, as well as a
combination of the Gothic Architecture and Roman Architecture. These combinations
become a complement to the design of the KTMB’s Head Office.
By doing this they kept elements of British and European architecture, while adding
Indian characteristics. The British tried to encapsulate South Asia's past within their own
buildings and so represent Britain’s Raj as legitimate, while at the same time constructing a
modern network of railways, colleges, and law courts.
The Islamic Arts Museum
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most popular
attractions, and well-regarded as Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic arts. Housing
extensive collections of Islamic decorative arts from all over the world. This building
architectural styles are Islamic Architecture. In the sense that, religious places will have
more Arabic calligraphy drawn on the columns and other places on the structure.
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia was officially opened on 12 December 1998. The
museum is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s tourist belt amidst the lush greenery
of Perdana Botanical Gardens and within walking distance to the National Mosque, Bird
Park and National Planetarium.
National Planetarium situated at the hill of Kuala Lumpur Lake Garden, surrounding
by National Mosque, National Museum and KL Bird Park, National Planetarium is the place
where the journey to space begin. Combination of the Islamic architecture and astronomy,
makes the National Planetarium resembles a mosque, but combined with a futuristic look.
The year 1994 heralded a new era in space science and technology for Malaysia with
the official opening of the National Planetarium. The event not only focused the nation's
attention on the overall design and architecture and unique facilities of the Planetarium but
also brought to light the government's serious commitment to the development of space
science and technology.
Taking three years to build, the National Planetarium complex houses a tilted dome
theatre at its very heart. The unique design of the theatre posed a great challenge to the
project architects, engineers and building contractors. The exacting requirements of the
planetarium and the large-format film projectors posed even more formidable challenges.
Many difficulties had to be overcome and it took two years for all equipment and exhibits to
be completely commissioned.
In spite of the difficulties, the National Planetarium has been able to carry out
several successful educational projects with public schools and the public. Now the National
Planetarium plays a crucial role in promoting space science to society at large and leading
Malaysia towards the development of space science.
It has an interesting Islamic architecture that resembles that of a mosque, complete with a
dome and accompanying minaret.
3.0 Architecture Layout and plans
The early Modernist principle of ‘form follow function’, the internal space is organized along
the principal function of a mosque.
Configuration of the path
Linear path. The path lead to the Warriors’ tomb is linear.
Passes by the “Dewan Syarahan Utama”
The relationship of the pathway and spaces is “pass by spaces”. The configuration of
the path from entrance to Warriors’ tomb is flexible. However the location of the space
establishes that path, which is the Warriors’ tomb. The path-space relationship is used to
approach and enter functionally or symbolically important spaces.
The Makam Pahlawan, or Warriors’ tomb, was built in 1965 within the complex of
the National Mosque as a mausoleum for heads of state in Malaysia. It is one of the earliest
post-Independence Modernist landmarks in Kuala Lumpur.
Mausoleums: National Mosque, Warriors’ tomb
Two architectural elements: a circular plinth, which provides shelter but dispenses with the
need for walls and columns.
Mausoleums are large, open, pavilion-like structures designed to create a well-
defined space to shelter the tombs within rather than as elaborate edifices. Other than that,
security for the tombs is provided as well, and for visitor and well-wishers who come to
offer prayers is protected by the shelter.
The triangular openings between the folds, which are large enough to allow a breeze
to flow through the structure, also allow an uninterrupted view of the outside. A feeling of
being ‘in the inside of an outside space’ is thus cleverly achieved.
Built in 1965, the architectural style of Warriors’ Tomb, National Mosque, is based
on a combination of Islamic and Modernist design principles. It is built or reinforced
concrete with Italian marble finishing. The whiteness of the concrete roof and the colour,
texture and coolness of the marble further enhance the quality of space and light in the
interior of the mausoleum.
Western and Modernist influences on mosques
The most significant event in the history of early Modernism in Malaysian
architecture was the construction of the National Mosque, in Kuala Lumpur in 1965. In its
design this exceptional building was the first to depart from the struct symmetry of earlier
mosque, resulting in a ‘free plan’ skin to that advocated by Le Corbusier (1887-1965 ), the
renowned French architect.
The prayer hall
Reinforcing this interpretation, the building, comprising two levels, rests on pilote
columns. The galleries surrounding in the main prayer hall are treated like wide-open
The first floor, where the main prayer hall is situated, is devoted exclusively to the
performance of prayers and rituals.
The lower floor houses the public facilities, such as the administration office for the
collection of ‘zakat’(tithes), a clinic, and classroom for religious instruction. Probably the
most radical departure from mosque traditions, however, is the ‘umbrella’ roof. It is a
creative construction solution (a 360 degree folded plate structure ) and an ingenious
combination of the two main traditions in Malaysia mosque architecture: the dome inspired
by imported Middle Eastern and Mogul architecture and the roof inspired by the pyramidal
forms of more indigenous origin. Because of the success of the design of National Mosque,
and coinciding with an international trend, structural expressionism( the attachment of
symbolic meanings to the structure of a building ) became the predominant inspiration for
early post-independence mosques in Malaysia.
Geometrically patterned grillwork forms the walls.
2.3.2 Grid organization
A grid organization consists of forms and spaces whose positions in space and
relationships with one another are regulated by a three-dimensional grid pattern or field.
The pillars is perpendicular sets of parallel lines that establish a regular pattern of points at
their intersections. The organizing power of a grid result from the regularity and continuity
of its pattern that pervades the elements its organizes. a stable set of reference points and
lines in space with which the spaces of a grid organization, although dissimilar in size, form
or function can share a common relationship.
4.0 Architectural Style Analysis:
To gain a sense of place in Malaysia, one has to understand its foreign origins. In a
country that is situated in the geographic heart of Southeast Asia and is surrounded by
historic sea passageways, Islamcame from outsiders. Spreading throughout the Malay
Peninsula from the trading port of Malacca, where Muslim merchants from India and the
Middle East bartered in pottery, spices and textiles, mosques and madrasas sprang up in
communities settled by Javanese, Arabs and Pakistanis. And each of these groups, along
with their ethnic cultures and languages, brought their own brand of architectural style.
Masjid Negara expresses the idea of Islamas a religion that is dynamic and
progressive of the times rather than one that is static and dogmatic. In terms of
architectural ethnicity, the whole architectural expression of the National Mosque in Kuala
Lumpur does not suggest any foreign influence but is suited accordingly within our socio-
cultural context. Besides, it also presents the idea of spirit of times well. As it is built in the
modern era of reinforced concrete construction, its wide span of beams, use of hyper roofs
and the huge folded plate roof covering the prayer hall express the spirit of the structural
material and does not even try to imitate the traditional masonry construction of the past
with built in arches, domes and small fenestration.
The term modernistic expressionismcan be used to describe the National Mosque as
it uses abstract metaphor approach such as the frames of the whole buildings mimic as a
huge wakaf-like shelter or known as generous serambi-verandah structure. The building
express horizontality and serves well as the vocabulary of humility in Islam. The fact that the
building is a tropical model with lots of fenestration punctured by light-wells with ponds
representing the inner courts add to the idea of moderation. It also presents well the image
of Islamas a religion of their own people by rejecting the use of symmetry and strict
hierarchical composition of massing. It is also a simplified version of malay house in its
raised of prayer hall and serambi with light courts and air wells to provide ample day lighting
and passive cooling to the building. Masjid Negara is the combination of a modernistic
reinterpretation of traditional Malay Architecture with a folded plate ‘dome’ with a
metaphor of a royal umbrella signifying the importance of the building as a national
The mosque itself is also a type of modernist architecture inspired by traditional
Islamic themes and motifs. This uniquely designed mosque embodies a contemporary
expression of traditional Islamic art, calligraphy and ornamentation. It rejects historic
revivalismin any form, rejects ornamentation in any form, that celebrates abstraction in
forms and that celebrate the structural expression in architecture. It is by far the best
example of a building imbued with the technological and spiritual qualities of an
architecture with a true Malaysian identity. The Masjid Negara holds a unique and inspiring
position as the Mosque that does not have any inferiority complex about which place and
culture does Islam seemto be best represented. Its honest effort at interpreting a
progressive identity whilst answering the call for a building of humble cost and not of
astronomical extravagance, the mosque displays a tropical composition to be proud of.
Its most striking feature is the multi-fold umbrella-like roof which symbolises the
aspirations of an independent nation and symbolizes under the protection of Allah. The
architect, Datuk Baharuddin was inspired by how royalty would always be escorted with an
umbrella when stepping outside. As the building will be built with concrete, he couldn’t
design a round umbrella and needed more straight lines elements which made him further
thought of the Payung Kertas — a folded umbrella with straight lines. The umbrella-shaped
dome, with 18 points representing the 13 states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. The
central roof appears to be first glance a partially unfolded umbrella. From within, in the
main prayer hall, the roof’s unique design gives one the impression of standing beneath a
gigantic open umbrella. It is built of concrete and has a few small domes built of blue
mosaic. In the interior, the concrete roof in the shape of opened umbrella is decorated with
glass mosaic and white gold.
In the middle of the roof there is an aluminium panel engraved with verses from the
Quran - as a replica of the Blue Mosque dome in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque had
undergone major renovations in 1987, replacing the colour of the concrete dome from pink
to a more striking green-and-blue.
It also shows modern styles which emphasise the advancement in building
technology and engineering. Standing prominently against the skyline is the sleek and stylish
73m high minaret. A minaret is a tower where someone would announce the call-to-prayer,
or adthan, during the five daily prayers. The building itself also includes a hall, a mausoleum,
a library, offices and an open courtyard. The Grand Hall is surrounded by deep verandas and
they provide a praying area and can easily accommodate up to 5000 people.
Main PrayerHall Roof National
Blue Mosque Dome,Istanbul,Turkey
In order to discuss the Islamic styles of architecture, we must first examine the
worldviews of Islam. In Islam, Allah is the Supreme Being and is indivisible and has no
equals. He is the lawgiver for the whole world ncluding human, animals and other creatures
as well. According to the Qu’ran, when a person dies, the individual waits for the judgement
day. If he/she has lived his life according to Allah’s will, then they are permitted to enter
Seven Unifying Principles of Islamic Architecture
1. Tawhid:Unity and Uniquity ofAllah
Main Prayer Hall
The prayer hall is the space where the Muslims congregate to perform their prayers
facing the "Qiblah" which is the direction of 'KA'BAH' in Mecca. This is a common direction
during the prayers as it signifies that Islamis the religion of Unity : One God, One Final
Prophet Muhammad. This prayer hall can accomodate up to 3000 prayers at one time with a
floor area of 23,409 square feet.
Through 9 glasses of doors, prayers are able to access to the prayer hall from 3
different direction and unite them into one space.
2. Dikr : Remembrance
Masjid Negara is covered with repeated geometric form ornaments that includes
nature or Quranic inscriptions surrounding the building. Thus, it acts as a remembrance of
Allah and a process of being reminisced.
3. Haya : Modesty
Modesty was illustrated in this mosque through the usage of geometrical screenings.
Besides serving as a private screening, it also serves as an aesthetic feature as well as an
4. Ikhlas: Sincerity
Ikhlas was demonstrated as a sign of sincerity through an outward physical actions of
the body for example prayers and also inward actions of the heart where it is achieved by
removing doubts from thoughts. Sincerity is expressed through the inner heart that involves
deep contemplative of spiritual nature of man. There is always a focal point, a direction in
which all things lead to. The lines of pattern that run across the floor face the direction of
5. Iqtisad :Balance
The structural plan is designed according to golden ration, proportion and spatial
sequences. In terms of the form of this building, it is quite simple and modest besides
almost symmetrical to each site of the plan as well as the elevation. The structural plan is in
sequence shaped, hypostyle mosque where flat roof is supported by columns throughout
the entire building.
Symmetrical Plan and Front Elevations
Arab-plan/hypostyle mosque - Mosque rectangular in plan
with an enclose courtyard and covered prayer hall
Hypostyle mosque where columns and flat roof can be seen.
6. Ihtiram: Respect
Respect means propriety or adab (good manners), a positive feeling of esteem or
deference for a person or other entity, and also specific actions and conduct representative
of that esteem. In Islam, respect is translated in ihtiram in a sense of showing respect or
behaving in a good manner towards God, Allah; to fellow mankind and to oneself. To
translate those meaning in architecture, symbolism, harmony and the purity of geometric
shapes of the Ka'bah which are found in scared architecture throughout the Islamic World
has been used. In the National Mosque, geometric shapes of screen walls are used in almost
every walls of the building. In the main prayer hall which is similar to Dome of the rock,
Islamic art is found decorating the walls and window screen of the mosque. Animal
Arabesque is an elaborate application of repeating geometric forms of plants and animals
symbolising the infinite, uncentralized, nature of the creation of Allah.
7. Ilm : Knowledge
Inscriptions where calligraphy is written or carved in a sacred language in Arabic to
illustrates knowledge in Islamic Architecture. The Arabic callagraphy is to celebrate the
aesthetic of islamic scripts across the Islamic world through a visible form by revealing ilm'
and wisdom words of Quran.
In islam, knowledge is also known as the light of truth. Islamic architecture has
manipulated the light source as an expression through illuminating effects of sun rays and
moon light. To adds individuality and a sensory experience of architectural spaces as it is
driven of the quality of light and shadow that determines an individual's perception,
intricacy on wall inscriptions or ornament is used as a moving point source of natural
The nine gates and the lattice gallery bring sunlight into the prayer hall as well as the
decorative lights, the lights hidden in the aluminium rosette at the roof and 16 chandeliers
which are a gift from kings, governors and ex-National President of Singapore.
Several written verses from the Quran are placed across the all above the
interior part of the door of the prayer hall. The writing measures 2ft high and
woven with gold and blue shiny mosaic.
The mausoleum which situated at the rear of the mosque stands in a circular
reflecting pool and is connected to the main building by a covered foot-bridge. It is circular
in shape and is covered by a pleated shell concrete dome similar in shape to that of the
Grand Hall but with only seven folds, one of which covers a reserve for the national hero’s
Today, the National Mosque continues to stand sleek and stylish with the modern
design that embodies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art calligraphy and
Malay architecture symbolism. Since its completion on 27th August 1965, the National
Mosque has become a majestic symbol for Islamin Malaysia.
Moorish architecture is a variation of Islamic architecture. There are many motifs, or
repeated patterns, in Moorish architecture. Below are the similarities between the elements
in National Mosque and Moorish Architecture elements.
1. Mihrab with geometric and design of plants
2. Presence of minarets
3. Colourful mosaics
4. Windows of coloured glass
5. Walls of the mosque has Quranic Inscriptions written on them
6. All decoration is accomplished through tiles work, calligraphy and architectural forms.
7. Nine outer gates, led to the same number of naves within the mosque.
Moroccan style is a new trend in decoration which takes its roots from Moorish
architecture and Moroccan architecture
In the national mosque, previously the mihrab was in angular shape like a door but
has been modified to curved arch. This mihrab is inlaid with verses of the Quran in
Moroccan caligraphy. There is a parallel line of writing, with white lettering set against a
gold background. The wall that surrounds the mihrab are modified according to the
Moroccan architecture with decorative and cursive characteristics of inscription in Arabic
Script. The reverence attached to calligraphy was based primarily on the primacy of Arabic
as the language of the Qur’an. Since the Qur’an contained Allah’s (God’s) final revelation to
the world in His words, the written word carried potent meaning. The entrance is
highlighted by rich, rectangular frames (alfiz) enclosing arabesques and lettering carved in
marble, stucco and mosaic.
Mihrab inNational MosqueMihrab in Mosque ofCórdoba
The Qur'an uses the garden as an analogy for paradise and Islamcame to have a
significant influence on garden design. The concept of paradise garden was commonly used
in the Persian gardens, Ottoman gardens as well as Charbagh garden of Mughal
architecture. The word ‘Charbagh’ is divided into “Char” and “Bagh” which means four and
garden respectively in Persian. Therefore, the garden is divided into walkways and flowing
Charbagh garden of Mughal architecture in
Courtyard with water fountain in front of
A fountain can be found in the
centre of the garden of Masjid
A pool which reflects the beauties of
sky and looks quite similar to canal
can be found outside the prayer hall
of Masjid Negara
The interior of the prayer hall is decorated with patterns that depict the Islamic
culture and resembles the pattern found in the Taj Mahal and Patehphur Sikri Mosques in
Multi-fold umbrella-like roof painted blue in colour which is very similar to the
Persian domes which normally is blue in colour and aims to dominate the skyline of the city
especially during the reflection under the sun and glitters like the turquoise gemand the use
of extensive inscription bounds of calligraphy and arabesque beneath the dome.
Prayerhall inTaj Mahal
PrayerHall in National Mosque
Masjid-e Jame mosque in
Multi-fold umbrella-like roof
in Masjid Negara, Malaysia
Prayerhall inPatehphurSikri Mosque
5.0 Construction Process
Providing a unique design for the mosque was not an easy task. Firstly, a proposal to
hold a competition to get talented designers from around the world to design the mosque
was held by the committee of Kuala Lumpur’s Township Arrangement. Later, the proposal
was rejected, and they suggested a competition be held amongst designers and architects in
the country. Unfortunately, the suggestion was also turned down as it would cost a lot of
money and difficulty, thus making the work process even slower. The committee finally
decided to give the job of designing the mosque to the Public Works Department.
Firstly, a council of architects from the Public Works Department had to collect,
analyse and compare the designs of all the famous mosques in the Islamic world. The
ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked the United Arab Republic to help in giving suggestions
and design proposals for the mosque in the Arab countries were sent to Kuala Lumpur to
study. The task to design the National Mosque was given to a young architect, Mr.
Baharuddin Bin Abu Kassimwho had specific knowledge in mosque studies. He had visited
India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Spain and the Arab states to study more on the designs of all
the famous Mosques in those countries. His design was accepted and confirmed by the
mosque Committee in June 1960
The first stage if the construction of the mosque was to provide a site. A lot of work
had to be carried in the first stage of construction, which included the demolition of
previous buildings, levelling on the ground, piling works and water systemconstruction. The
preparation of the site was carried out by the local contractor, Messrs K.C.Boon and Cheah
within two years. On 29th September 1961, a ceremony to set the Qibla’ direction was
officially done by the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.
After the site was ready and the Qibla’ was determined, the next stage was the construction
of building. The Initial cost of overall material for the building was too high and they had to
reduce the cost by changing the specification of materials used. After discussion, it was
decided that the remaining terrazzo design was replaced with local marble. This way, the
construction cost was saved by more than two million ringgit.
The main Construction
On, February 27,19633. Yang di-pertuan Agong held the stone- laying ceremony of
the national Mosque. The mosque consists of a main hall with a veranda surrounding three
sides of the hall, a tower, a courtyard with two pools, a hall, a library, a room for temporary
use for the Yang di-pertuan Agong. King and the head Imam
The main hall, which is the prayer hall is the most significant part of the national
Mosque. The area of the hall is 153 square feet, built with reinforced concrete and covered
with beautiful Italian marbles.
Reinforced concrete is concrete in
which steel is embedded in such a
manner that two materials act
together in resisting forces.
Reinforced concrete was used as it
was able to withstand bad weather
conditions due to it being stronger
than normal concrete.
Next, there were nine sliding doors that were placed along the walls on the three facades of
the main hall. The doors were made out of big aluminium. The construction of the roof
along the veranda was built in waffle slabs. The roof structures are cantilevered which
extends horizontally over the veranda and corridor walkways.
Pans Removed Near Column
The similarities with the modern building in the west
Based on the construction of the national mosque, we can see some similarities with
the construction of the most well-known residences in the west, designed by one of the
modern masters. Frank Lloyd Wright. The house mentioned is the falling-water in Bear Run.
Pennsylvania. One of the similarities is that Fallingwater was built using reinforced concrete.
CantileveredRoof of FallingWater
Reinforced concrete was commonly used in the modern building as it was the new
technology at that period. Wright had also designed the house with cantilevered floors. This
reflects back to the national Mosque’s cantilevered roof design. Lastly, the third similarity
was the use of the waffle slabs. Wright used waffle slabs in the construction of Fallingwater
as it provided a lighter and stiffer slab which reduced the extent of foundations. This was
made of a thin topping slab and narrow ribs spanning in both directions between column
heads or band beams. The column heads or band beams are the same depth as the ribs.
The floors are constructed from white tiles while the once-
pink concrete roof is now clad in green and blue tiles. Tiles
have the characteristic of low water absorption and declared
freeze-resistance is required. Tiling on concrete roof also
ensure quiet prayer hall at all times. It also has the
characteristic of reflection which brightens up the whole
walkways while give the dome the ability to reflects during
the day which catches the attention of the user.
Concrete pillars are widely used to support the whole
structure and to emphasize on the verticality elements in
the mosque. It also symbolizes Muslim follow the 5 basic
principles of Islam. This method have been shown to
effectively increase the axial load capacity of columns.
Concrete roof in the shape of opened umbrella is decorated
with glass mosaic in white and gold. Concrete roof requires
little maintenance over time, fire resistances and provide
thermal insulation to the main prayer hall which is fully air-
conditioned. It is also much cheaper and concrete was all
that is available with the absence of aluminium and steel
Verandahs are protected from the outside by the lattice
curtains of aluminum with original Islamic patterns. It provides
an additional layer between the exterior and the interior.
Besides, interesting composure is created with the reflection
of the floor since not as much light is passing through the
Main Prayer Hall
The main prayer hall is constructed with
triangular glass panels and blue stained
glass windows which are very similar to the
technique of painting in Europe especially
in church and cathedral. In medieval times,
blue glass was made by adding cobalt,
which at a concentration of 0.025 to 0.1%
in soda-lime glass achieves the brilliant blue
characteristic of Chartres Cathedral.
Stained glass is very suitable to make
windows especially in a prayer hall as it is
very long lasting if well maintained and
having the characteristic of giving out light
which could manipulate the interior
atmosphere when sunlight penetrates from
Several written verses from the Quran are placed across the wall above the interior part
of the door of the prayer hall. The writing measures two feet high and woven with gold
and blue shiny mosaic which is commonly use during the Islamic period. Glass mosaics
were widely use both inside and outside by craftsmen of the Byzantine tradition with
rich floral motifs. Compare to other materials, it is harder than steel, less dense and
resistant to heat and corrosion.
Terrazzo which is a composite material
normally for floor and wall were also used
in Masjid Negara where the pillars are
paved with terrazzo while the floors are
constructed from terrazzo pieces.
The prayer hall has reinforced concrete
wall garnished with Italian marble
reflecting a mixture of Islamic and
modernist design principles.
6.0 Architectural Elements
THE UMBRELLA ROOF
As the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) was built to represent the independence of
Malaysia, there are quite a few architectural elements that can be observed and analysed.
One of the more prominent ones would be the half-opened umbrella roof that represents
the protection from god to all His followers. As Malaysia has just recently achieved its in
1957, this mosque was built with unity and the importance of Islamic principles in mind.
Hence, the dome has 18 folded points to represent the 13 states and the five pillars of Islam.
The dome also helps strengthen the emphasis on the National Mosque among all the other
Islamic structures built around it.
THE HERO’S MAUSOLEUM
Not far from the main umbrella roof, sits a second umbrella roof that shelters the Hero’s
Mausoleum. This structure started much later into the construction, work started in 1963
and was completed at the same time as the main hall in 1965. The seven-sided umbrella sits
directly on the ground with the lower folded edges as the support, hence the roof also
served as the walls of the structure. The seven triangular “holes” act as access points into
and out from the mausoleum, and also as openings for natural lighting to illuminate the
Moving on, also one of the more prominent features of a mosque, would be the minarets.
Traditionally, the main function of a minaret is to provide a vantage point where the Azan
can be read to notify all the Muslims around the vicinity that it is time to carry out their
prayers. Nowadays, loudspeakers or microphones are installed at the top of the minarets so
the azan can be heard from longer distances. The minaret that stands 73 meters tall is built
on top of a long reflective pool, next to the main hall. The top of the minaret is designed to
resemble a closed umbrella, unlike most minarets in Islamic architecture. Because of this
unique, one-of-a-kind design, the minaret serves as a pinnacle or landmark that can be seen
and recognized from across the city skyline as the National Mosque.
As you approach the grand entrance of the National Mosque, you will be greeted by a wide
protruding flat-planed flight of stairs that incorporates a feeling of serenity and peacefulness
through its horizontality. The stairs are also wide to improve the flow of up to 15,000
Muslims that come and leave every Friday to pray. After ascending the stairs, you will be
overwhelmed by the grandeur and magnificent structure built above ground. The
corridors/walkways in front of the main structure are supported by repeated pillars to allow
air ventilation and natural lighting to create a light and open feeling for the occupants as
they enter the mosque.
Walking along the open corridors and walkways, you can’t help but notice the big blue pool
that is situated in the centre of the building, which also happens to be the base of the lone
minaret. The main pool also branches out of all the way to the Hero’s Mausoleum and
encircles it. A strong emphasis on water has been implemented into the mosque to
strengthen the focus of Islamon nature and the environment, water being one of the four
elements earth, air, water and fire. The sound of water drizzling from many of the fountains
produces a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
At the front entrance of the main hall is the semi-enclosed courtyard that serves the
purpose of being a secondary praying area for the Muslims when the main hall has been
filled during the Friday prayers. Similar to the walkways and mausoleum, the gaps between
the concrete parasols held up by many uniformly-arranged concrete pillars are cover in glass
to allow sunlight to penetrate through, yet keeps the place dry from rain. The parasols are
elevated above the lower roof, which allows for space to include a row of clerestory that
surrounds the entire courtyard to provide natural lighting. Therefore, the interior of the
courtyard is well lit during the day that complements the white tiles and mosaic flooring,
giving off a sense of clarity and purity.
THE MAIN HALL
Sitting right beneath the half-opened umbrella roof, is the main prayer hall that can
accommodate up 15 thousand Muslims. Blue tainted glass was used in the upper floor
windows and triangular glass panes to embody the utter purity and clarity of God, and also
to encourage a serene and calmenvironment in the prayer hall. Each triangular window
panes are tainted with a different Quranic Inscriptions that carry different meanings. Unlike
the walkways, courtyard and mausoleum outside, the main prayer hall is fully enclosed with
several access points for improved circulation. The Mihrah placed at the front of the hall
dictates the direction and position of the entire structure due to the position of the Qibla.
Although the exterior of the mosque carries many modern architecture design elements,
the three architects that designed the mosque knows that, as a mosque that embodies the
very essence of Islamic architecture, many minor details of the National Mosque maintains
the traditional geometric patterns, motives and forms. One of the many examples, are the
four equilateral sides which form the square to represent the equally important elements of
nature: earth, air, fire and water. Without any one of the four, the physical world,
represented by a circle that inscribes the square, would collapse upon itself and cease to
exist. Too many minute details that carry strong emphasis of the Islamic architecture can be
mentioned; among the more obvious ones are the hand rails, ponds, wall ornamentations
During the entire course of this assignment, our group has thoroughly researched on
the National Mosque and its characteristics. However, the complete knowledge of the
National mosque alone would not suffice; hence we also immersed ourselves into the world
of Islamic architecture to fully grasp the ideology. We also visited the mosque to experience
the building for ourselves through our five senses. After thoroughly observing and analysing
the building inside out, we proceed to delegate the tasks between ourselves and produced a
detailed report on the National Mosque.
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