This conversation I had with Michael Badu, evolves around his architectural practice that mostly consists in the design of mosques in Europe. We talk about his “funambulism,” trying to find his ethical equilibrium between the recurrent ostracism facing a practicing Muslim in Western societies — although Michael does not talk too much about it — and the conservatism of some of his religious clients. But this conversation happens to be primarily an architectural one, where we wonder about the architect’s dilemma about what can be accepted as a commission and for which reason. Similarly to essential questions, this one cannot be categorically answered.
Michael Badu was born in south London in 1977 and trained as an architect at Sheffield, London South Bank and Cambridge Universities. Michael spent his formative years as an architect working in the public sector (Norwich County Council, education projects) and in the historic sector while working for Thomas Ford & Partners Architects before setting up Michael Badu Architecture in 2009. Fundamental to Michael Badu Architecture’s approach to design is a belief in the continuing relevance of architectural traditions which sometimes date back thousands of years.
– “The Mosque: Religion, Politics & Architecture in the 21st Century” for The Funambulist Papers: Volume 1 (Punctum Books, 2013)
– Mary Mosque in Galway (Ireland) for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 2011.