Putrajaya, Malaysia, the ultra-modern administrative center and new seat of the Malaysian government, recently created the new Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque - nicknamed the Iron Mosque - to serve as a community meeting place for the satellite city outside of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The building was designed to achieve simplicity, airiness and transparency, and to reflect the architectural style of the region through modern materials and techniques. GKD’s Escale 7x1 stainless steel spiral mesh was specified to meet all of these goals.
To provide a comfortable environment for the mosque’s 20,000 worshipers within the tropical, Malaysian climate, a unique cooling system was created using GKD’s Escale stainless steel mesh, eliminating the need for air-conditioning or fans. Nik Arshad Nik Mohammed, the building designer, developed the idea of a mesh skin acting as a protective membrane instead of using glass windows to achieve natural air conditioning. A filigree façade made from over 14,000-square-feet of stainless steel spiral mesh visually connects the rectangular openings of the meandering structure. Each mesh element is 25-feet-wide and up to 27-feet-long.
The laminating effect of GKD’s mesh protects against drafts while at the same time letting the cooling wind flow throughout the mosque. Besides providing cooling features, the stainless steel mesh is designed to offer almost unlimited service life and low life-cycle costs. It protects against corrosion and heat, is easy to maintain, non-flammable and resistant to mechanical influences.
Larger, more modern and considerably different from traditional designs, the mosque sets contemporary standards. Depending on the viewpoint, the fabric mantle has a semi-transparent/opaque or a metallic appearance. The building is 70 percent steel. At night purposefully staged lighting illuminates the building, and together with the soft glow of daylight, underlines the meditative qualities desired for the building.
The mesh was affixed using nearly invisible hook bolts to achieve a seamless, transparent look. Construction for the building began in 2005 and was completed after five years.