Bosnian Islamic Center
Saint Louis, MO
Saint Louis is home to the largest Bosnian community outside of Bosnia, and while they have built three mosques in their new home city, as of yet no Bosnian community center exists to house recreational, educational and other activities. The client, one of the mosques in South City, wants to explore the option of establishing a community center next to them. The design seeks to create a building that exceeds the role of a typical community center – its exterior serves as a public museum that describes the Bosnians’ story and their arrival in Saint Louis. The design’s material palette features durable and resilient materials to serve as protection for the structure and inhabitants as well as light and transparent features which are designed to be inviting and welcoming to the community. Transparency and visibility into the building create an air of openness and promote cultural understanding and exchange between Bosnians and Saint Louis natives. The spaces within the center are designed to be multi-functional and the entire building faces Mecca so that rooms may be used for prayer. The program calls for interior and exterior café space, a multi-functional conference room, a commercial grade kitchen, offices, classrooms, a multi-functional gymnasium, locker rooms, and restrooms equipped with ablution areas.
This project is also unique in the respect that members from the mosque itself will be contributing their skills and labor to build the facility, given that many Saint Louis Bosnians work in the construction and contracting industry.