Thanks to its light transmitting concrete facade, the Al Aziz Mosque in Abu Dhabi changes its appearance from opaque during the day to semi-transparent at night. Calligraphy protruding from the exterior walls illuminate the site, creating a reverential aesthetic. The facade of the building, designed by APG Architecture and Planning Group, consists of 207 unique elements with Arabic letters depicting 99 different names of God with strict instructions taken from the Koran.
The facade starts transmitting light once the LEDs installed behind the backside of the panels are activated. German company LUCEM developed the technology for the facade design. Light transmitting optics transmit light of the LEDs to the external surface of the letters protruding from unique concrete panels, which are also weatherproof and can withstand extreme temperatures. These massive elements were also designed to match various types of natural stone used on other parts of the building. Its color changes throughout the day-during daytime it has a warm sand color, during sunset it gets a more earthy tone, while at night and in the morning it looks more grey.
The facade is dominated by calligraphy-99 different names of Allah were first drawn by an experienced calligrapher and then digitized and distributed across different elevations of the building using AutoCAD. The letters protrude 30 millimeters from the panels which weigh 300 kilograms each. The blocks were installed using 16 undercut anchors to fix each panels to a channel-based substructure system fixed to the concrete structure of the mosque.
Photos by LUCEM