I a n   D o u g l a s - J o n e s


When the law is a flaw, what does design offer?

On Sunday November 29th, 2009 the citizens of Switzerland overwhelmingly passed a referendum banning the construction of new minarets in their country. With this move, the ban will be added to the Swiss Federal Constitution – a new and dubious level of status for an architectural element to reach.
Optimistically, let’s put aside questions of religious persecution and think about this as a design problem: what are the tensions within the built environment that made this ban possible? When the law is a flaw, what does design offer?
This is a tale of equality in confrontation with equanimity. One the one hand, the right to religious freedom should include reasonable material expression: every church with its cross, every mosque with its minaret [1]. On the other hand, the atmosphere and image of Switzerland’s picturesque Cantons are so finely crafted and manicured that formal deviation disturbs the calm.
To address this impasse between the rightful expression of the Muslim religion and the value of Switzerland’s overwhelmingly scenic environment we challenge you to design a solution that allows the best of both worlds. Can you design a minaret as event rather than object?


Reuse and re-appropriate ailing scud launchers from rusting soviet weapons dumps. This is Warm war recycling for a climate conscious country. Adaptability is the the buzz word here. The main armature is perfect for rapid minaret deployment, armature fixings allow for maximum flexibility and is capable of housing muititude of religious paraphernalia, church bells, prayer wheels, ballistic water blessing, lock and load shoe recepticles as well as the latest in scared cow tethering mechanisms. This nimble and versatile, a go anywhere vehicle, will leave no crevasse of any canton unreachable.

The strategy for widespread deployment builds on western ideology and eastern cunning, hearts and minds with shock and awe tactics for rapid religious indoctrination/ dissemination. As efficient as the trains yet unbounded by tracks