Congregate — Architecture Competition by

New Architecture Competition Announced — ‘Congregate’ to design Challenge to design a prayer hall —

Fig: 1 — Faith is a subjective matter that pertains to every individual.

Interpreting Religion

Any religion is based on the belief system of its people. But this base is not concrete since, in history, faith in many matters has evolved with development in science and our knowledge of the universe. So, there is a realisation that the core values of all religions conduct a similar set of ethics, morality and acts. This dawn of thought in the present times has changed the way people interpret religion in their lives.

Will this change in interpretation of religion today affect its architectural spaces?

Fig: 2 — Sacral architecture is the prime location of fostering community relations in a locality.

Space for peace and harmony

The diversity of religions creates a constant field of friction. Every religion proclaims peace, but owing to varied perceptions of an abstract concept, religions are abused as facilitators of conflict. But the new interpretation of religion and faith is different from its past restrictive versions.

Religion is reinforced in the mass of its followers, and the unification of distinct individuals through common beliefs and values is the very essence of all religions. Faith in a higher power condones the act of praying, and with the new notion of religion, a change is to be seen in the way places of worship are designed.

How can we create a clean slate of space that would be capable to congregate peace and harmony in society?

Fig: 3 — Group prayer sessions are cathartic and healing for most people.


Brief: The challenge is to design a prayer hall that is a congregation space for people of all religions and faiths.

The design of the prayer hall can be inspired by various religious architecture types from around the world, but must not include any direct representation of any particular religious symbols or elements. The design must not be offensive to any religious beliefs.

Design objectives

  • Purpose (if any): It can serve an additional purpose that could benefit the socio-economic or environmental aspects of the local community.
  • Convenience: The hall must be accessible and convenient for use by different user groups. A comfortable ambience is needed to support the intimate act of praying.
  • Harmony: The design must establish some harmony or connection with the surroundings while having outstanding features.
  • Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.


Fig: 4 — Site image

Vietnam is a secular country, where each individual has the freedom to practice their religion in the way they want. Most citizens do not consider themselves to be religiously affiliated, but share rituals and traditions that make the culture-rich of the country. The nation is open and accepting of diverse religions and thus, makes it an ideal location for this typology. The site is located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The city is moving towards advanced tech spaces but the cultural landscape is rich with religions and traditions even today. The huge population consists of several religions and ethnic groups that are existing harmoniously in the city. The city is filled with sacred spaces of popular religious groups occupying the area. The site is facing the riverfront of Song Sai Gon and is surrounded by streets filled with community activities. Moreover, there are many tourist destinations within a wide radius of the site.

  • Site area = 1735 sq.m
  • Height restriction = 12 metres
  • Max FAR: 0.75
  • Ground coverage = 20%
  • Setbacks (as per CAD plan)
  • Coordinates = 10°47'40.3"N 106°43'04.0"E

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Congregate | Religious Building Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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