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A Quiet Coup: Turkey’s First Mosque Designed by a Woman

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Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

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Women’s rights in the Islamic world are grim; even in Turkey, which has a secular government, feminism is still a foreign concept. But Zeynep Fadillioglu has quietly pulled off a coup: She’s the first woman in Turkey to design a mosque. An interior designer known for jet setting ways, she nonetheless won a commission to redesign the religious structure in Istanbul. She even recruited women to help in the construction. Begun last year, the project was just recently completed. It’s a fairly impressive building, subtly blending modern techniques and materials into what might be the world’s most conservative design vernacular. Check it out:

The quibla wall, which faces Mecca. The archway you see is the mihrab–an essential feature of a mosque’s quibla wall. To the right is the minbar–the pulpit for the Imam: 

Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

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Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

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Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

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The view from the balcony. Women and men are separated in mosques; men worship on the main floor. The spaces occupied by women are frequently cramped, but Fadillioglu made a point of giving women a space equal to the main floor, in size and beauty:  

Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

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Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

Zeynep Fadillioglu mosque

You can read more about the process behind the mosque here

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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