For a short while, 20 of the delegates to Totally Concrete Expo were moved into another world, away from the hustle and bustle of the secular world, to the Nizamiye Masjid (Mosque) in Gauteng, John Sheath, CEO of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa NPC took some time out to write about the visit.
You can watch a video of this project here.
As part of their Totally Concrete Expo programme, Hypenica arranged for a site visit to the Nizamiye Complex in Midrand which houses the Nizamiye Mosque, Private School, Hostel, Clinic, Bazaar and Conferences Hall. The complex conducts quality education in Islamic and Modern sciences, affordable health services and social and cultural activities.
The visit was focused on the Mosque which was completed in and opened in April 2012 and according to the host, site project manager and engineer, Orhan Celik, was the brain child of 77-year old, Ali Katircioglu, a prominent Turkish businessman, who came to South Africa seven years ago. It is now the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere.
The mosque, designed to accommodate up to 6,000 worshippers, is a smaller replica of the Ottoman Selimiye Camii Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, completed in the 1570s and now a World Heritage Site. The Midrand version is some 25% smaller than the Turkish original. The plans for the mosque were designed in Turkey and adapted by a South African architect to South African building standards.
Hard to miss, its dome rises 32 metres and is framed on four corners by four towering minarets, each 55 metres high. There are an additional 4 half domes and 21 smaller domes. The main dome, cast in ready mixed concrete in one pour lasting approximately 20 hours, is covered with 48 tons of lead. The minarets, also cast in concrete are 5 metres in diameter and feature 2 spiral staircases each, which rise up inside to three stage level platforms.
The entire monolithic structure is constructed in concrete and even the exterior walls, which look as if they had been built in original stone, are in reality plastered, in-situ concrete covered with a special quartz-filled coating to simulate actual stone.
Inside the mosque resonates with serenity; time seemed to stop the moment we entered. Some of the features shown were generously proportioned courtyards, arched stained-glass windows, marble columns, sweeping staircases, fountains, rich mosaics and, one of the most stunning features, the authentic Turkish calligraphy on both the walls and ceiling, and the custom-made carpet below is a reflection of it.
On being asked about the total project cost, Orhan Celik replied that only 4 people in the world know the actual cost of the entire complex. Upon ‘googling’ this question subsequent to the visit, it was discovered on the ‘TimesLive’ website that an estimate has been made at R1,3 billion.
The Totally Concrete Expo took place last week from 26-29 May 2014, bringing together Africa’s elite involved in the concrete, cement and construction industry. The event will be held from 12-15 May 2015, at the Sandton Convention Centre.