Australian Islamic Center’s lantern-like skylights flood worship space with multi-hued light
Pritzker Prize-winning Australian architect Glenn Murcutt has revealed new images of his first mosque in Melbourne, showing a roof covered in rows of dramatic lantern-like skylights.
Murcutt has worked on the design for the Australian Islamic Center for over 10 years, collaborating with architect Hakan Elevli of Melbourne practice Elevli Plus.
When the building completes in late 2016, it will provide a mosque and community center for the Islamic population of the Melbourne suburb Newport.
Murcutt’s aim is to create a contemporary mosque that can provide a community space for both Muslims and non-Muslims, moving away from the traditional forms of Islamic architecture.
The center of the building is crowned by rows of projecting skylights that will funnel light into the building through one glazed side.
These gold-colored triangular prisms are lined with multi-colored glass to resemble lanterns and will act as a beacon for the mosque in lieu of the minaret or dome structure more traditionally used in Islamic architecture.
Photographs of the center and its unusual roof – which is now nearing completion – were made public for an exhibition titled Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith.
The exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria includes 200 sketches, plans, photographs and models showing the design process behind the building.
Murcutt, 80, is arguably Australia’s most celebrated architects and is renowned for his slow-paced approach to architecture and his focus on small projects.
It has taken almost a decade of work for the Australian Islamic Center to come to fruition.
“Over the last 10 years, it has been an extraordinary enlightenment for me,” he told journalists after a panel discussion at this year’s Pritzker Prize ceremony.
“I’m putting forward the idea that, we can in a society that is anti-Islam, we can produce some work that actually can bring Islam back into our community and becomes an addition to the culture.”
When Murcutt won the Pritzker Prize in 2002 the jury said: “Generally, he eschews large projects which would require him to expand his practice, and give up the personal attention to detail that he can now give to each and every project.”
“His is an architecture of place, architecture that responds to the landscape and to the climate.”
Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith will be on display at NGV Australia until 19 February 2017, while the building itself is slated for completion in late 2016.