Pritzker Prize winner unveils unconventional take on Islamic design

Islam

The Australian Islamic Centre in Hobsons Bay, Melbourne, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt is an attempt to reimagine traditional Muslim building design.

The nearly completed project seeks to create a contemporary space of worship and communion through a unique but reverent reimagining of the religion’s traditional architectural language.

Prior to the opening of the mosque, the public can catch a glimpse of the architect’s design process for the building by visiting Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith, an exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

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Archival materials on display include models, photographs, blueprints and drawings, 200 of which are original sketches by Murcutt.

Windows in the wing that houses the show feature a geometric pattern that reveals the most prominent aspect of Murcutt’s design – a roof highlighted by a cluster of golden triangular prisms intended to imitate lanterns.

Lined with multicoloured glass, the prisms admit gems of light into the mosque, which change with the movement of the sun. These also replace a mosque’s minaret and dome: structures that conventionally serve as beacons.

While the elimination of these elements is not entirely unprecedented – it has already been used in the design of other modern mosques – it is among the more controversial aspects of the centre.

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