Exclusive: Architect’s Statement and Photos of the Fabulous New Ottawa Jamatkhana

Editor’s note:  A month ago, the day following the opening of the new Ottawa Jamatkhana located at 3225 Conroy Road, K1G 3N4, on Friday July 19, 2013, we published a photo essay – please click Ismaili Muslims Open a Beautiful New Jamatkhana in Canada’s Capital – which summarized the opening day’s events as well as provided a collection of photos of the new as well as the old Jamatkhana that was located at 991 Carling Avenue. The post has since been viewed several thousand times by readers from over 70 countries. Former residents of Ottawa, who are now settled in other parts of the world, were overjoyed to read the story, and readers from around the world responded with feedbacks that expressed the joy that they also shared with the Ottawa Ismaili Jamat on the historic milestone achieved.

The gap left in the photo essay about the vision for the new Jamatkhana is now filled with this informative piece from architect Farouk Noormohamed’s office. We thank FNDA Architecture for the text and Alia Noormohamed, Farouk’s daughter, for the photos.

The Ottawa Jamatkhana: Architect’s Statement

Text by FNDA Architecture
Photos by Alia Noormohamed

The new Ottawa Jamatkhana marks a new chapter in the life of the Ismaili community of the National Capital Region and will become a symbol of the community’s commitment to Ottawa, embracing the local vernacular architecture, new institutional buildings, and powerful symbols of Islamic design.

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The inviting new Ismaili Jamatkhana in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, was opened on July 19, 2013. It is located at 3225 Conroy Road, K1G 3N4. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

From the main thoroughfare (Conroy Road), the building is bright and inviting, and engages those passing with its distinctive lines, textured materials, and use of glass. Entering the compound,  through gates and landscaped areas, one leaves behind their worldly worries, and passes through a four season courtyard, inspiring the spirit, and reminding those of their place in Allah’s creation.


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Photo: Alia Noormohamed

The building has a warm central spine bringing the two wings together which serve distinct functions – one for religious education, the other for the prayer hall. The two wings off the central spine, which symbolize the role of faith and intellect in the practice of the Ismaili of the variegated challenges he faces and that ultimately each of those experiences is a step in the quest to Allah. The space also marks the final place before entry into the prayer hall.


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The foyer or social hall on the upper level. There is an equally large social gathering area on the lower floor of the building. The large windows seen in this photo look out onto the court-yard and Conroy Road, the main thoroughfare that the Jamatkhana is located on. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

The social area in between the two functions embodies the principle that the community, bound by its reliance on faith and its utilization of the intellect, comes together, to celebrate success, to be united in purpose – and the interactions that take place in that space all aim to facilitate these principles.

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The opposite end of the social hall overlooks a large parking area. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

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The main stairwell as seen from the upper floor social hall or foyer. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

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A partial view of the foyer from where one enters the prayer hall. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

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Another view of the social hall and entrance to the prayer hall. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.


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The prayer hall as seen from its entrance. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

The prayer hall is the culmination of these series of experiences, and as a majestic and inspiring space, utilizes the richness of Islamic geometry, the harmony and modesty of the surrounding areas, allows for the entry of natural light – as a reminder of our place in Allah’s creation. Here, and throughout the building, principles of Islamic design are used, to inspire the spirit and to engage the senses.

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Use of rich Islamic geometry and patterns in the prayer hall. Photo: Alia Noormohamed.

The prayer hall utilizes the richness of Islamic geometry, the harmony and modesty of the surrounding areas, allows for the entry of natural light. Here, and throughout the building, principles of Islamic design are used, to inspire the spirit and to engage the senses using an interplay of light and shade.

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A view of the ceiling and back area of the prayer hall with rich geometry . Photo: Alia Noormohamed

The design of the new Jamatkhana is reminiscent of the design of The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building on Sussex Drive with its linear form and white facades where one can see through the building from one end to another with a view of the courtyard. The use of glass through the central spine is symbolic of the Jamat becoming more public and will show the Jamat’s sense of pride for our institutional buildings in Canada, and the Imam’s continued work throughout the globe.

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Another view of the prayer hall. Photo: Alia Noormohamed

The Jamatkhana in Ottawa will aim to embody these principles, to inspire those that enter its spaces, and will work to project the Ottawa Jamat as a forward-looking, engaged and responsible member of the pluralism that is Canada’s Capital region.

Date posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013

Copyright: FNDA Architecture Group and Alia Noormohamed


Profile of FNDA Architecture and Alia Noormohamed at Contributors.

Please also see Photo Essay: Ismaili Muslims Open a Beautiful New Jamatkhana in Canada’s Capital

For a complete list as well as links to photo essays published on this blog please click on Table of Contents or visit the Home Page.

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