Converging Identities: Islamic Architecture in Detroit

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The development of identity and place within the Detroit Muslim community is explored in this thesis through the creation of an Islamic Center and research library in downtown Detroit. The Islamic Center will strive to simultaneously work on multiple levels by establishing connections to Islam within a global context, the local community, and a place for individual development.

The investigation will explore how an immigrant culture establishes community through the built environment and represent their culture within the local community. Part of the study will reflect on how building styles and type reflect the cultural characteristics that the community is trying to preserve compared to American and western influences that are incorporated into the design? How do the architectural traditions, typologies and climate of the Detroit area get incorporated into the built identity? Specific focus will be given to the use of precedent and typology in modern Islamic design, mosques and cultural institutions as identity shapers both for the internal and external audiences. Light, color, pattern and symbolism are areas of inquiry that will be explored to develop form.