Derbent Spiritual Center, Russia


The competition seeks proposals for a new historical development bringing together a mosque, a Russian Orthodox church, a synagogue, a conference hall, a museum, a library and a landscaped park.

The Derbent Spiritual Center project will transform a 25 ha site at the center of a larger regeneration area in the historic heart of Derbent which overlooks the Caspian Sea and is considered the oldest city in Russia.

According to the brief: “The main building of the spiritual center will be the central mosque of the“ Motherhood Tears ”Cathedral, with an interior capacity of approximately 9,000 worshipers. The Derbent spiritual center will also include a Russian Orthodox church and a synagogue for around 900 worshipers each.

“In addition to religious buildings, the spiritual center of Derbent will include buildings for social and cultural use, including a conference center, library, museum and other related uses, in an appropriately landscaped park, symbolizing the bond between the saint and the secular. ‘

Derbent is 35 km northwest of Russia’s border with Azerbaijan and was part of the Russian Empire 200 years ago.

It occupies a strategically important low-lying strip between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, and has always played an important role in controlling trade between the Middle East and the Eurasian steppe.

The latest competition comes nearly two years after an international team featuring Mae Architects won a competition organized by the Moscow Strategic Development Agency “CENTER” to restructure the historic settlement.

In 2019 – Adjaye Associates unveiled plans for an interfaith center on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, including a mosque, church and synagogue. The firm was selected from a shortlist of anonymous international companies for the project – officially the Abrahamic Family Home – at the site in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The call for concepts of the Spiritual Center of Derbent – supported by the city of Derbent and the Nova Zimlya Foundation for Urban and Infrastructural Development – is open to architects and architectural firms with “proven experience in religious and public buildings. / or cultural ”in the last decade.

The key objectives of the project include “to attract the younger generations in a framework which promotes mutual religious and cultural understanding and coexistence in a multicultural and multi-faith society”.

Shortlisted teams will receive additional information and will be invited to submit a short essay following an open first round of expressions of interest. Six finalists will then be invited to develop the first concepts in November. The deadline for submitting applications is October 11.

How to register

Visit the competition website for more information

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