The Karwa Mosque

Constructed in 1897, the Karwa Mosque is a central facility for the local Muslim community living in Tanjong Tokong, an old seaside village on the island of Penang. In the 1970s, urbanisation and densification took over the quiet area and introduced land reclamation that saw the building of malls and high-rise condominiums. The mosque now sits in an area surrounded by tall buildings, at a tight corner of a busy road intersection that marks a gateway to the existing Malay village.

The brief was to replace the old timber and concrete structure that had been added haphazardly over the years. The original structure and its extensions had to be removed completely to make way for a new building. That being said, the reconstruction was not only to modernise the facility, but also to reconnect with community and evoke a sense of familiarity by bridging the gap between the urban and rural areas. For this, the architect has employed vernacular architecture techniques, forms and aesthetics.

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Project Name
Karwa Mosque
Tanjung Tokong, Penang, Malaysia
Completion Date
December 2019
Site Area
1,129 square metres
Gross Floor Area
1,023 square metres
Majlis Agama Islam Pulau Pinang
Architecture Firm
Eleena Jamil Architect
Principal Architect
Eleena Jamil
Civil & Structural Engineer
MSJ Consulting Engineering
Main Contractor
Jamil Ghani Construction Sdn Bhd
Mihrab Contractor
ZEQ Holdings Sdn Bhd
Façade Contractor
Archifacade Sdn Bhd
Lightmakers Malaysia
Mutiara Alam Enterprise
Midor Interior & Furnishings Sdn Bhd
Marc Tey; TWJPO