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Shahed Saleem’s pioneering research shortlisted for RIBA Research award

Architecture and Interiors 25 September 2018

Shahed Saleem

Shahed Saleem’s book on the evolution of mosque architecture in Britain has been shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2018 in the ‘History and Theory’ category.

Entitled ‘The British Mosque: An architectural and social history’, Saleem’s book presents, for the first time, an overview of Muslim architecture in Britain, from the earliest examples in the late 19th century to mosques being built today. It also demonstrates how the mosque, as a building type in Britain, has emerged and developed over more than a century of rapid social change.

The research focuses on the way in which the mosque has adapted into the existing urban fabric of Britain's towns and cities, and how this new building type has impacted the landscape, socially, culturally and architecturally.

The book, published by Historic England, brings Muslim heritage into the mainstream and celebrates the contribution of mosques within Britain’s diverse religious environment. With over 30 detailed case studies of different type of mosques across the country, it illustrates the diversity within the nation’s Muslim population.

Shahed Saleem is a practicing architect and a design studio leader in Westminster’s School of Architecture. Saleem’s research has resulted in two mosques being listed by Historic England, and two mosques having their existing listings upgraded.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Saleem said: “What I'm interested in is making buildings that could only happen in this place, in this time, with this culture that we have now. It is important to maintain the connection with Islamic history, architecture, and culture – but by using it in a way that is contemporary. It’s about using it in a new way for its own purposes and situation.”

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research celebrate the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment and attract interest from a wide range of countries around the globe.

The winning papers and medallist will be announced at this year’s President’s Medals ceremony at the RIBA on Tuesday 4 December.

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