The mosque designed by Zeynep Fadillioglu in Istanbul, Turkey, is now open, and it’s the first one in the country to have been designed by a woman. Viva le difference! Here’s an excerpt from The National:
Zeynep Fadillioglu, an award-winning designer who made her name with the interiors of fancy bars, restaurants and private homes, has created a buzz with her interpretation of a modern place of worship. The fact that Ms Fadillioglu, 53, is the first woman in charge of the design of a Turkish mosque has sparked even more headlines about the project.
In a country where most mosques even today are variations of the classical designs of Sinan, the 16th-century Ottoman master architect, and where women have commissioned mosques before, but never built them, both the design and the designer of the Sakirin Mosque are a departure from the norm. The state institution overseeing Islam in the secular Turkish republic, the presidency of religious affairs, has recently signalled that it wants to strengthen the role of women by appointing them to leading religious posts, among other steps. But in everyday life, women are still mostly in the background when it comes to such projects as the Sakirin Mosque.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed this tradition of the Park Regent Apartments at the intersection of Park Road and Mt. Pleasant Street in Washington, D.C. From the buildings prime location, the owners hang bright blue banners with the word for peace emblazoned in white font in a dozen different languages.
Out of pure curiosity, I called the Park Regent Apartments to ask about the history of hanging these peace banners. The very helpful property manager, Art Buildman, told me:
“We’ve been doing this for the eight years that I’ve been around here. I’ve been hanging them myself for the last three years. I don’t really know how it got started. I think maybe the Mount Pleasant Citizens Association suggested it. We usually put them up sometime before Christmas and take them down in January. We’ve got a larger size banner that says ‘peace’ in English, but I’m afraid to hang it because I’m afraid I’ll damage the roof by attaching it. I don’t dare hang any longer ones, because of the wind. There used to be banners in red, but we can’t find those. I’ve got a picture of the red banners here in the office that you are welcome to come by and see. “
Personally, I remember seeing longer ones hung from the Park Regent in the 1990s, then there were several years when they didn’t hang them at all. But now the tradition seems firmly back in place. And they now hang them on both buildings in the Park Regent complex. It used to be that they hung only on the building right at the corner. The Mount Pleasant Historical Society says this about the Park Regent (See more about historic Mount Pleasant.):
In 1910 the Park Regent was constructed at the intersection of Park Road and Mount Pleasant Street. The buff brick U-shaped building is imaginatively sited on its difficult trapezoidal site through the extension of one wing. A bold bracketed cornice and paneled brickwork crown the Beaux-Arts style building.
Below are a few more photos of the Park Regent by local photographers: