The trustees of Abbeymills Mosque have appointed Allies and Morrison to design the Abbeymills development which will include a new Mosque.
The proposals for a new mosque have been under consideration since 1996, when the trustees first acquired the 18 acre location. Following a decision made last year a competitive competition was launched to identify suitable Architects to lead this exciting if unintentionally controversial development in the heart of West Ham.
Mr Abdul Sattar Shahid said “We have appointed a highly respected architects’ practice to deliver our vision. Allies and Morrison have a wonderful background of delivering practical yet inspiring buildings and they have agreed to design our development for us. We can now look forward to working with people who, like us, want to make a difference to the West Ham Landscape.”
“We have shared our vision with Allies and Morrison and we look forward to them giving this shape and life. The development will include the largest Mosque in the United Kingston with a capacity of 12000 but it will also include a new school and conference centre. We look forward to welcoming our neighbours in Newham and visitors from elsewhere in London when the development opens”.
Allies and Morrison is an international award winning architectural practice whose work includes the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall, the recently opened planetarium at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the new extension to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, south London.
Founded by Bob Allies and Graham Morrison in 1984, the practice was the designers of the new BBC Media Village at White City, they are part of the consortium working on the master plan for the Olympics and are the architects of the neighbouring Abbeymills pumping station for Thames Water which lies adjacent to the site for the proposed Abbeymills Mosque (shown in the picture above).
Allies and Morrison have been briefed to design a development that will see the 18 acre site in West Ham transformed into:
Mosque capable of accommodating 12,000 people
Visitor and Conference centre, with facilities that will be available for the public
Car parking for a maximum of 650 cars
New entrance to West Ham tube station
Generous provision for cyclists
Desire to work closely with TfL and bus companies
Residential school for 500 pupils with playing field
Reception centre for visiting VIPs, including about 20 guest suites
Extensive decontamination of the entire site (from its former Chemical Factory days)
Retention of natural habitat on unique island location within the site
Landscaping of the whole site
Extensive use of natural resources to reduce energy consumption and increase recycling
Our website to keep people updated on our future plans and how we want to involve people in this exercise. We want to dispel any myths that may have evolved, and ensure that local people are at the heart of what we do.
Evening Standard readers have shown themselves to be a tolerant bunch, in a poll that has been running for several months on their website.
Despite a wave of ill-informed stories in the press, Standard readers have come out by a large majority in favour of the mosque in West Ham – even before they know the details of the scheme.
The poll was listed as the number one poll with 32134 votes, twice the number of the next most commented on poll, at 14771 votes.
56% of readers had expressed their support for the mosque. This was despite an email campaign to get people to oppose the mosque.
The poll has now been removed from the Evening Standard website after Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, revealed an organised email campaign aimed at stirring up communal hatred by spreading entirely false statements about plans for the new mosque in East London.
A “prejudiced” and “intemperate” email campaign is underway to persuade people to reject the mosque in West Ham. The emails target people, irrespective of where they live. Tim, a blogger, who gives his location as Afghanistan and goes by the name of The Maranatha, takes up the story on his blog:
“I lately have been bombarded by e-mails from Christian friends asking me to sign a petition to Tony Blair. The petition asks him to intervene and prevent the building of a ‘Mega-Mosque’ in Stratford. My question is: Why?
“Why are we so insecure in our faith that we feel so threatened by another that we don’t allow them the right to worship? Imagine if a petition was sent around to Tony Blair to ask him to stop Hillsong from worshipping in London; or prevent anyone buying The Purpose Driven Life, in case we get infected with Saddleback here in England. The church would be up in arms! Why? Because it’s prejudiced; it’s oppressive; it’s not fair. So where do we get off telling Muslims that they can’t have the same rights we do?”
Campaigners tried unsuccessfully to petition the Prime Minister against the mosque, but the petition failed because they used ‘intemperate language’.
Thankfully, most people in the UK are tolerant. When a campaigner tried to ask David Cameron to oppose the mosque on his webcameron site, all the comments (up to today 5 March 2007) reacted with dismay at the request.
Phorest said “As a wonderfully diverse population that we are, we must accept that Muslims have a religious obligation to pray in mosques and a fairly rigid policy of praying 5 times per day, whereas Christians do not have to worship at specific times or in a certain place.”
You can see the petition the Prime Minister vetoed here.
To view the blog from The Maranatha here.
UPDATE 5 April 2007: The Evening Standard poll has now been removed from the Evening Standard website after Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, revealed an organised email campaign aimed at stirring up communal hatred by spreading entirely false statements about plans for the new mosque in East London.