Neumann Monson has helped Des Moines’ Bosnian community—originally displaced during Yugoslavia’s civil war—design a 200-acre masterplan in Granger, Iowa. The development includes infrastructure for both physical and spiritual well-being. Our first phase of involvement builds from their existing cemetery; the first for Des Moines’ Muslim community. Subsequent phases include a cultural center, a community center, schools, gymnasiums, outdoor soccer fields, and housing.
The 9,000-sf mosque rises to the east of the cemetery, on the land’s highest point. Its orientation to Mecca (44 degrees NE) aligns with the development’s main access. The lower level houses a kitchen, classrooms, and a multi-purpose space. Ground level includes the main prayer space and administrative areas. An upper level holds an additional prayer space.
Members of the congregation laid each course of the concrete masonry units (CMU’s) that make up the building’s sturdy monolithic walls. The material’s simplicity and utility respond to a modest budget, reference the essential qualities of faith, and echo Iowa’s vernacular heritage. The dome that crests above the horizon is unusual for Midwestern cornfields but speaks volumes to the hospitality that the Bosnian community has encountered here.