The Illuminated City: An Atlas of Islamic Space in Montreal (Lefebvre 2018)

Author: Marie Lefebvre

Thesis Advisor: Ozayr Saloojee

Date: 2018

Master of Architecture

Carleton University



Many everyday Islamic spaces in the “West” are almost undetectable. In Montreal, zoning regulations, economic restrictions, and the recurring debate surrounding religious accommodations significantly impact how and where Muslim communities establish their places of worship. These buildings are present, yet often hidden in the physical urban fabric – which is deemed “secular” – that surrounds us. This thesis explores questions of visibility / invisibility, and secular / sacred space: what is it that we call the secular public space? How does it compare to religious space, and how permeable is it to the non-secular? Where does the sacredness of a place rest? How do the different places of worship in a city connect together? This research investigates this theological landscape as a vernacular that is repurposed into a religious space and place of a community, and studies ways to make these religious spaces visible, to reveal another landscape within Montreal.