54 years of celebrating, enhancing and safeguarding Halifax's built and natural environment.

Clearly it would have been easier to demolish the existing buildings and start on the new mosque from scratch. But the mosque authorities knew that this posed two risks - members dispersing to other mosques in the town and also losing the vital financial support of the community. The rebuilding would cost £2.5 million, contributed by Muslims from all over the country as well as in Halifax, and £1 million of that was raised during the construction period so it was seen as essential that the mosque continued to function throughout.

It follows that the main components of the building would remain as they were, including large prayer halls on the ground floor and a further prayer hall and multi-function hall - part of the community centre - on the first floor. As part of the remodelling an extension was added to the mosque's main facade facing Gibbet Street to turn the irregularly shaped complex into a rough rectangle which could be given a unified architectural treatment. The new extension also provided additional toilets and ablution area - ritual washing being an essential precursor to worship - and boiler room, with a conference room on the first floor above and meeting rooms, offices and storage on a new second floor.

The Gibbet Street facade was also been given a new main entrance and foyer while the opposite side of the building has a small new extension, with its own entrance, providing facilities for funerals. Two further small extensions provide stairwells at either end of the building. But all the extensions together add only about 20 per cent to the building's footprint and the height off the new mosque - excluding the new dome and minaret - is less than a metre higher than the existing building. Yet the alterations to the mosque have doubled its floor area, including a much enlarged prayer hall on the ground floor and a huge new hall, lit by the new dome, on the second floor.

Architecturally the design is derived from traditional Islam, "dictated by geometrical relationships typical of Islamic architecture, relying on symmetry, geometrical patterns and forms, all to an appropriate scale". The facades consist of a series of wide bays extending from ground to the top of a parapet; the main frontage facing Gibbet Street has five of them, separated by plain, bold pilasters. Each bay has two deep arches running from the ground to just below the parapet. Doors and windows on the ground and first floors are plain squares or rectangles but the openings at the top of the arches are plain roundels. The parapet, which runs right round the building, is decorated with tiny blind arches. The roof, hidden by the parapet, is a flat metal deck.

The Islamic theme continues with the adornments of minaret and dome. The minaret, set near to one end of the Gibbet Street facade, rises 26 metres (85 ft) in three stages including a green-coloured, open-sided cupola; it replaces three much smaller minarets. The dome, positioned centrally over the southern half of the building, replaces a smaller one from the earlier building and matches the cupola in colour. The new facades are in natural local stone, chosen to empathise with the surrounding buildings, with artificial stone for the arches, pilasters and other smooth ashlar dressings.

The new mosque's two-ton green dome is lifted into place in June 2014

The remodelled mosque has many other features, including study classrooms, an extensive library, a new lift and upgraded electrical and heating systems, which have been designed to be sustainable. There are also 94 car parking spaces. Interior fittings and furnishings are to a high standard, from the oak doors and other woodwork and the gleaming ablution areas to the sumptuous blue and cream Belgian carpets on the floors of the prayer halls. Unfortunately the mihrab, a niche in the wall of the main prayer hall that indicates the direction of Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying, has not yet been completed. Often the mihrab is very highly decorated, perhaps with mosaics or tiles in complex geometric or Arabic patterns. Here, for funding reasons, the mihrab is still bare as priority had to be given to completing the building and we look forward to seeing it finished.

Planning permission for the enlarged mosque was given by Calderdale Council in 2010; construction began in 2013 and was complete by 2015. The mosque, with room for 3,500 worshippers, now claims to be among the biggest in West Yorkshire and its officials are keen to stress that it is for the use of the whole community, irrespective of creed, colour or religion. They add: "The local Muslim community welcomes the involvement of the local community for the benefit of integration and better understanding of the cultural and religious needs of each other."

The mosque lies in a historically important part of Halifax, in the People's Park Conservation area, which also includes much of the legacy of the Crossley carpet-making family of Dean Clough, including People's Park itself, Francis  Crossley's Belle Vue mansion, just south of the mosque, Lister Lane Cemetery, immediately west of the mosque, and the Crossley's industrial village, West Hill Park, immediately across Gibbet Street from the mosque.

In this historic Victorian English townscape, built for the 19th century, the local community of the 21st century has constructed a building that serves its needs now and into the future. In the new-look mosque they have replaced buildings of no distinction with one of real quality. It does what was intended; it dominates the street scene, like any church or temple, declaring to the world that this is the heart of the community, yet the massing is not overbearing and the materials are well chosen. The "new" Madni Mosque has added a new layer to the architectural heritage of Halifax.


Commended: Service centre for Stonelake of Halifax, Wakefield Road, Copley, Halifax.

Back in 1993 - in the second year of the Halifax Civic Trust Awards - one of the six awards made in that year was for new showrooms and workshops at Copley Motors on Wakefield Road, Halifax. The new building featured unusual green metal cladding, appropriate for its use as a Land Rover dealership. The owner was Stewart Oughton, who had started the business with his father, Edward Oughton, as early as 1968, and the architect was John Thornton, of Mytholmroyd.


Stonelake's new service centre at Wakefield Road, Copley, showing the cutting edge cream insulation panels used to clad the building. The reception area is entered via the glazed doors on the right and the workshops are to the rear.

As the company grew Stewart expanded, with a similar Land Rover dealership in Wakefield under the name Stonelake and along the way he gave up the Copley dealership. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, Stewart is back in Copley, with his two Land Rover-trained sons, Ben and Luke, as Stonelake of Halifax. And on Wakefield Road - literally next door to the old Copley Motors building - Stewart has built a new service centre for Land Rovers and Range Rovers. And the architect is - guess who - the same John Thornton who designed Stewart's first building all those years ago.

The restricted site, between Wakefield Road to the north and the Calder and  Hebble Navigation to the south, was once occupied by a chemical works and latterly by the worn-out, red-brick premises of carpenters and joiners Eric L Nethercoat Ltd. The site lies between Stewart's earlier building, now occupied by Rybrook Copley Land Rover, and the service centre of Richard Baldwin Motorhomes. To make the most of the site the existing basement was much expanded by excavation to create a floor below ground level reached by a ramp from the forecourt above. This level is used for parking vehicles and to house the  firm's  extensive parts store, while the ground floor level above has a reception area with workshops behind and offices at the mezzanine level.

Stonelake's reception area with an early Land Rover on display. The elegant spiral staircase gives access to a mezzanine floor with offices and meeting rooms.

The building is a steel-framed structure with a curved gable facing Wakefield Road; the curve was chosen to contrast with the straight eaves lines of the adjoining buildings. The "public" faces of the building, the north and west elevations, have a plinth of irregularly coursed local stone topped with a new and innovative form of proprietary steel panels, which are also used for the roof.  The Copley scheme is thought to be among the first to make use of the new Kreate insulated wall panel system, which is made by Kingspan in Sherburn, North Yorkshire. The firm claims to be the global leader in the design and development of this kind of product, "enabling property developers, building owners, designers, contractors and insurers to create buildings that deliver world-class energy efficiency and design".

As John Thornton describes it: "The system provides for the supply and fixing of bespoke wall panels on a minimum of substructure sized by the architect to precisely to fit a particular project and in relatively small quantities, allowing greater flexibility in the distribution of panels and windows."  The cream-coloured panels, contrasted with green-tinted windows in green alumi-nium frames, are "intended to reflect the robust Land Rover design ethos", as John also sought to achieve at his 1992 building next door.

Internally an attractive and welcoming reception area - big enough to display an early Land Rover! - features a spiral staircase, painted green with light oak treads, which winds up to a balcony and the mezzanine floor, where there are offices and meeting rooms. White-painted walls and high-quality fittings, such as oak doors and interior window frames and a drystone wall reception counter, lend an ambience that is light, airy, attractive and friendly and a pleasure to visit and, surely, to work in. This must also be true of the six-bay workshop at the rear of the reception area, which is as spick and span as your average kitchen and is flooded with daylight from roof lights and from three 3 metre-high windows overlooking the canal. Outside the forecourt has room for six show vehicles facing Wakefield Road and seven customer parking spaces to the side of the building. There are a further 13 spaces under cover in the basement.

Altogether this is a most welcoming, environmentally friendly and thoughtful development in many ways. It is intrinsically aesthetically appealing; it replaces an old building at the end of its life with an attractive, modern building which fits in with its neighbours and is eminently suitable for its purpose. The spaces have been arranged so as not to upset the neighbours by placing the quiet reception area at the front with the potentially noisy workshops at the rear, overlooking only the canal. Furthermore the building has been designed to be environmentally sustainable in many respects, from the use of the innovative, low-carbon insulated panels referred to above to low-emission window glass units and heat reflective membranes in the walls and roof, to low energy plumbing, electrical and lighting systems. Even the rainwater and grey water is recycled for use in the workshop. The contractor for the scheme was  QSP  Construction, of Bingley, with steelwork supplied by Harold Newsome Ltd, of Leeds.

After nearly 50 years in the business Stewart Oughton is now taking a back seat, leaving his sons, Ben and Luke, who are both master technicians, having worked with Land Rovers since leaving school, to run the business with a steadily growing workforce that underlines the company's renewed success.

The present Madni Mosque with new Islamic-style façade to unify the building, complete with 26-metre tall minaret.

Aerial view of the first Madni Mosque, opened in 1984, with later extensions. The mosque is nearest the camera with the adjoining prayer hall beyond and the community centre to the right

The mosque called on Archi-Structure to produce a scheme that would "unify and integrate the existing mosque and community centre buildings from their current nondescript and non-Islamic design into a state-of-the art development by unifying all the building envelopes and projecting an impressive facade to the main elevations." In short the aims were to turn three buildings into one imposing, even dominant Islamic-style building and provide extra space for much needed and improved facilities - and all while remaining open to worshippers and users of the centre.

HALIFAX CIVIC TRUST AWARDS 2015              David Hanson

There are two winning schemes in this, the 25th year of the annual Halifax Civic Trust Awards. From 1992 to 2015 the trust made a total of 74 awards, for works ranging from new schools, medical centres and houses to restored mills, shops and warehouses and houses, from the conversion of a chapel to a nursery to the refurbishment of banks and pubs and even the creation of a moorland garden. Major schemes such as the former Halifax Building Society's headquarters in Halifax town centre, the conversion of the old Royal Halifax Infirmary to flats and the restoration of Shibden Park have also been award winners. And this year's two winners have certainly lived up to the high standards we have set in the first 25 years.

This year's winner of the Halifax Civic Trust Award is the Jamia Madni Mosque in Gibbet Street, Halifax, which has been transformed by a major remodelling and refurbishment some 30 years after it first opened in 1984. Our second scheme is a new service centre for Land Rover specialists Stonelake of Halifax in Wakefield Road, Copley, which is commended.

Halifax Civic Trust Award: Jamia Madni Mosque

The Madni Mosque in Gibbet Street, Halifax, opened in 1984. Until then local Muslims had worshipped in existing buildings converted for the purpose and still today there are mosques in the town in former houses and factories. In 1980 the Jamia Mosque Trust was formed and three years later began fundraising for the building that opened in 1984 as the first and still only purpose-built mosque in Calderdale. But the mosque was and is more than just a place of worship; it is also a place of education as well as a centre for the whole community with after-school clubs, groups for older people and mothers with toddlers, youth club, women's study circle and recreational facilities. In 1995 a community centre building was built next to the mosque. Then, in 2001 further extensions were added and the mosque given an Islamic-style makeover, with new facade, dome and minarets.

But by 2008 the mosque was seen to be unsatisfactory for two reasons. First, in the words of  architectural and structural design consultants Archi-Structure of  Baildon near Bradford, "it became clear that the facilities did not encompass the many essential provisions for the ladies, children and the wide community at large". Second, over the years the mosque had become a mish-mash of buildings of different designs; the mosque, its prayer hall and the adjoining community centre lacked a coherent unity, as can be seen from our aerial photograph.

The first 21 years of awards

2014 Awards