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AJ Architecture Awards 2019 winner: Community and Faith

Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects has been named best community and faith project at the 2019 AJ Architecture Awards

In a category featuring schemes differing in scale, complexity and purpose, Marks Barfield Architects’ ‘delightful’ new mosque in central Cambridge won the judges’ favour. 

The practice landed the project following an international design competition in 2009 with a design that evokes both English and Islamic architectural traditions. The lattice vault roof of the main space nods toward the famed ceiling of the city’s King’s College Chapel. The design also draws upon Islamic geometry. The judges were impressed with the handling of circulation within the 2,556m2 building, whereby worshippers and visitors are taken on a journey from the street through gardens, porticos and an atrium to a lofty prayer hall. ‘A calm, welcoming and thoughtful project,’ commented one juror.

With a structure made predominantly of timber, the £25 million mosque was also praised for its sustainability credentials. The jury said: ‘There has been a totally coherent approach to all the environmental aspects of the building. This has been done in an intelligent and rigorous way. There is a sense that architect, client and contractor have worked collaboratively throughout the design and construction.’

The judges were also impressed by Dow Jones’s retrofit and extension of the Grade I-listed St Mary Magdalene church in Paddington, which won a high commendation.  They said: ‘The detailing and execution throughout is excellent and a testament to the architects’ considered approach – a beautifully crafted, modest gem, which is both respectful and sensitive to the existing church.’ 

Highly Commended

Grand junction 2

Grand junction 2

Source: Anthony Coleman

Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene, Paddington by Dow Jones Architects

The judges said: ‘The detailing and execution throughout is excellent and testament to the architects’ considered approach. A beautifully crafted, modest gem which is both respectful and sensitive to the existing church.’


  • Neuron Pod by aLL Design
  • The Hub at Mulberry Park by BDP
  • The Croydon Mosque, A New Women’s and Children’s Wing by Benedict O’Looney Architects 
  • Bethnal Green Mission Church by Gatti Routh Rhodes
  • Shelter from the Storm by Holland Harvey Architects
  • Drayton Green Church by Piercy&Company 


  • Sarah Gaventa, director, Illuminated River Foundation 
  • Edward Jones, director, Dixon Jones
  • Satwinder Samra, director collaborative practice, The University of Sheffield
  • Ada Yvars, director, MYAA