Thousand and Two Nights

architectural office PROARH
project Islamic centre with Mosque, Osijek, Croatia
written by Nikola Polak


The Islamic Centre with a mosque in Osijek, a building in spe, designed by Davor Mateković’s architectural office, PROARH, with its archetypal form, almost classic disposition with the intelligent transcription of typological models, and, above all, with the sophisticated structuring of the overall architectural ambience, makes me imagine some tale by Scheherazade that was untold in the bibliophile edition in my home library, richly illustrated with Islamic art, and which had occupied me during many years of my early childhood. The rendering of this architecture, equally in the stages of emergence and elaboration, repeatedly bestow memory impressions on me: the frozen reflections of the Bosporus waters on the colours of the faience, the obscure babble in the Moorish gardens of Andalusia, the geometricized arabesque that whispers ruba'i poems in its interlacing patterns, the plastic topology of the dune creased by the simoom, the final curve of the blade of a janbiya, the frozen echo of a string of Anouar Brahem’s oud... To a laconic observer, this atmosphere would be enough. An introspective glimpse cannot miss fourteen centuries of heritage of a culture so distant and yet so close – of the magic, but also of the fate of the world determined by the Book, whose holiness does not even bear translation. A glimpse of the world of the past we live with now. Therefore, in this project, two building tales are interwoven, one from the ancient times, another more recent...