Lafarge South Africa supplied 13 800m³ of concrete for the construction of the Turkish Mosque in Midrand.
With its minarets gracing the skyline of Midrand in Gauteng, the Nizamiye Masjid, as the Turkish Mosque is known, is the only true example of Ottoman architecture in the Southern Hemisphere.
The basic plans for the mosque were designed in Turkey as an 80% scale copy of the 16th-century Ottoman Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, now a World Heritage site. Some adjustments were made locally to ensure compliance with local building regulations.
The development is the realisation of a dream by a 79-year-old Turkish businessman, Ali Katircioglu, to introduce Ottoman-style architecture to places that had not experienced it. His priority was to ensure that the mosque truly reflected its Ottoman origins and that meticulous attention was paid to quality workmanship and detail. To achieve this, 600 specialised craftsmen were brought from Turkey, working with local artisans and passing on their knowledge and skills to them.
Lafarge South Africa, the local presence of the international Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials, was chosen to supply all the readymix concrete for the construction of the Nizamiye complex.
“We had to ensure that the concrete came from a reliable and consistent source, and we chose Lafarge because they are respected both internationally and locally,” says project manager, Orhan Celik, a Turkish civil engineer who also managed the Turkish construction team. The project was carried out without appointing a main contractor.
“It proved to be the right decision as the speed of delivery from their Chloorkop batch plant and their general service could not be faulted,” he adds. “When we needed help, they were there for us. For example, the mosque’s 1 630m² floor space has a 700mm foundation slab joining the four 55m-high minarets. For this mass concrete pour, Lafarge supplied two pumps and delivered readymix around the clock to complete the 1 000m³ continuous pour. Another critical construction task was pouring the concrete for the main dome, which is 32m high and 24m wide. As we did not have a tower crane, Lafarge organised the largest mobile pump in South Africa at the time and completed the job in a 20-hour non-stop pour.”
The total concrete requirement for the mosque and associated buildings was 13 800m³, using mainly Lafarge’s pumping and column mix designs, which are based on 70/30 cement/fly-ash to achieve a 30 MPa concrete. With the extensive use of pumps, the mix required a minimum slump of 120 compared with 90 for the general work.
The cement used was Lafarge’s versatile premium technical CEM II product, Powercrete Plus 42,5N, which can be blended further with fly-ash to achieve a range of customised mix designs. As recommende by Lafarge, the high-quality classified siliceous fly-ash DuraPozz® from Ash Resources’ Lethabo Plant was used as a cement replacement in the mix designs.
“Lafarge South Africa is proud to have been involved in this fascinating project,” comments Lafarge’s key accounts manager, Mohammed Hajee. “It was not the usual fast-track contract, but rather an extremely specialised project in which we worked closely with the Turkish experts. It reflects the Lafarge brand baseline of ‘Building better cities’, which embodies the Group’s ambition to use its innovative products and solutions to help construct more durable and beautiful cities.”
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