The Ground Zero Mosque, which is being designed by SOMA Architects, will be a futuristic building that resembles a small United Nations building with a honey-comb-like facade sporting hexagonal shapes evocative of the Jewish Star of David.
The hexagram is used in Islam and represents the Seal of Solomon.
Properly called Park51by its developer and popularly known as the Ground Zero Mosque as it will be located two blocks from where the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers stood until 9/11, the architectural sketches are featured on the developer’s Web site.
Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal says of the futuristic design, “We want to have a marriage between Islamic architecture and New York City. We want to do something that is green and cool.”
What’s in a Name?
The development originally was going to be called Cordoba Place in honor of Cordoba, Spain, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived peacefully under the Moors (Muslims from North African) before they were expelled from Spain by Christians. Ground Zero Mosque protesters, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, objected to that name as it allegedly glorified Islamic conquest.
The present building that will be torn down for Park51 is located at 45-47 Park Place. Built in the 1850s, it was damaged in the 9/11 collapse of the Twin Towers and is now vacant. It once housed a Burlington Coat Factory retail store.
The 16-story building will have a mosque in the two-level basement that will accommodate between 1,000 and 2,000 worshipers, but most of the space will be given over to other pursuits, including a 9/11 remembrance space open to those of all religious faiths.
The other facilities in the Islamic community center will include an art studio, a book store, child care facilities . There will also be an auditorium that seats 500 and a performing arts center. Four of the floors will feature a fitness center that includes a basket ball court and swimming pool. Park51 also will house a culinary school and contain a food court.
Sydney Morning Herald, A glimpse into the future of controversial site
The Telegraph (London),Ground Zero mosque likened to Superman’s HQ