On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan placed a ceremonial stone on a 15-acre construction site in Lanham, Maryland that will likely become the largest and most striking examples of Islamic architecture in the western hemisphere.
The Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center (TACC) is a project of the government of Turkey and is meant to"serve as a social, cultural, and religious center for all visitors, including activities for the promotion and introduction of the values of the Turkish Civilization" according to an information packet distributed by TACC at the invitation only ground breaking ceremony.
The project is well underway, and two industrial cranes tower over the skyline along Good Luck Road. Concrete and steel pillars are up, and even two small domes are already visible. TACC leaders estimate the complex will be completed by October 2014.
The cost of the 5-buidling complex is estimated to be around $100 million according to sources familiar with the engineering aspects of the project. The entire complex will be serviced by an underground garage.
The Muslim Link covered the ceremony and presents these images to capture the event as well as the monumental construction project for our readers. -- TML
Prime Minister Erdogan talks about what the TACC center means to Turkish Americans as well as to American society at large. He criticized groups promoting Islamophobia and urged the many Turkish graduate students to get involved with the project. He also delighted the crowd of several hundred guests by saying he will come back for the October 2014 opening ceremony "if he is still around". Photo by Muslim Link.
An April 2013 photo of the 15-acre construction site. TACC says about 30% of the construction is completed. Photo courtesy of TACC.
The TACC Center will consist of five main buildings: a masjid constructed using 16th century classical Ottoman architecture that can hold 760 worshipers; a two-story, 19,990 SF Cultural Center Building including a 220-seating performance hall; a 9,850 SF recreational building with a 180-seat restaurant and traditional coffee shop; a 43,450 SF traditional Turkish bath for up to 22 people at a time and indoor pool and sports center; and 18,500 SF of guest housing including 16 one-bedroom apartment units. The complex will have very limited above ground parking and most cars will park in the 150,700 SF underground parking garage which gives direct access to all the main buildings. A few traditionally designed residential buildings, Turkish gardens and fountains, and outdoor recreational areas will also be a part of the complex. Images courtesy of TACC.
The American and Turkish flags fly high above invited guests like Jameel Alim-Johnson from the Prince George's Muslim Association (foreground). Most of the invitees were Turkish diplomats, business leaders, and community members, but there were a few dozen non-Turkish representatives of area masajid and Islamic organizations from the DMV area present, including ISNA President Mohammad Magid and ICNA President Naeem Baig. Photo by Muslim Link.
Dr. Yasar Colak, head of the Executive Board of TACC expressed his deep appreciation for the Prime Minister taking a personal interest in seeing the TACC project to completion. Photo by Muslim Link.
Maryland's Secretary of State John McDonough delivered greetings from Governor Martin O'Malley and talked about the sister city relationships between Turkey and Maryland. Photo by Muslim Link.