Focus on Architecture: Story Behind the Photo

The last post of stories behind the winning photos from the 2010 Focus on Architecture competition, today’s photo was taken during OHNY Weekend by Joseph Barretto at the Islamic Cultural Center on the Upper East Side and was selected as a winner in the Interiors category.  The judges liked the balance and simplicity of this image.

Light often plays a significant role in sacred architecture, so I was trying to capture its importance at the SOM-designed Islamic Cultural Center.  I was captivated by juxtapositions here: between artificial and natural light, between the simple curve of the circular arrangement of the fixtures and the angular and geometric shapes of the shadows on the wall as the mid-morning sun hit one of the Center’s upper windows.

I live in the Financial District, close to the proposed—and controversial—Park51.  Amid all the emotion surrounding that project, I thought openhousenewyork Weekend provided a great opportunity to visit New York City’s premier mosque.

The mission of OHNY is to celebrate New York City’s built-environment, but so often it also affords participants the prospect of appreciating the historical and cultural fabric that makes these spaces—and our city—unique.


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