Doing away with Dogma – Madrassa in Bengaluru is designed to conceive integrated education system of Gurukuls and Arabic institutions

Adopting a revolutionary approach of transforming the traditional design of Jamia Zeenathul Islam Madrassa & Masjid, built for the Cutchi Memon community in Bengaluru, the DS2 Design Studio defies the conventional religious symbolism and iconography in educational institutes.

The reconsideration of the academic system necessitates the independence of architectural expression, free of religious symbolism, thus the architectural form of the Madrassa is reinterpreted to complement the new education and lifestyle programme as well as the aspirations of the people who would be inhabiting the space.

Providing the studio an opportunity to be flexible in their design approach, the building is harmoniously nurturing the growth of underprivileged children. The design of the space – in this context where the typology is generally burdened by dogma – but this time the design team absolves the building from its iconographic obligations to build an institute challenging the hard liner’s ideology.

Bays are devoted to primary functions, with each bay crowned by a semi-circular vault, externally dividing the form into three functional sections. On the eastern side of the structure, a large courtyard flanks the bays, providing natural light and ventilation. Constructed as a labour of love, every aspect of the design is curated to serve the children that use it.

The architecture deviates from typical Islamic worship space that should include the following elements: the Mihrab, which indicates the Qibla wall, pointing towards Mecca, as well as a minaret where the Imam can deliver sermons.

Designed to be completed over a period of 36 months, progressive curricula are conceived by including tenets of traditional Gurukuls with Arabic educational systems. For the duration of their course, students live in the Madrassa and learn life skills, social studies, as well as Islam and its applications.

The course accommodates a total of ninety students – thirty resident scholars and sixty day-scholars. This concept was well received, acquiring funding and support from numerous sources, thus allowing for a unified and conscious collaboration.

Founded in the year 2008 by Mueen Haris, the D2s Architecture design studio is evolved to provide turnkey solutions to bridge the gap between the drawing board and the craft, and currently the design team is headed by him and Savan Kumar.Their fundamental design principles are driven from the context and client aspirations.

This project explores how architecture can reimagine established boundaries, while finding a contemporary voice that fulfils the aspirations of the community’s users.

The concept was well-received, drawing funds from a wide range of sources, facilitating unified and conscious collaboration. It’s a commendable fact that architects and clients were determined to transcend their  religious boundaries.

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