A colourful new vision for Australia's mosques, courtesy of our greatest architect

World-renowned Australian architect Glenn Murcutt has designed a colourful, contemporary mosque that challenges traditional tenets of Islamic architecture

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Australian Islamic Centre, architecture sketch, 2006–16, pen and ink
Credit: Collection of the architect, © Copyright held by G. Murcutt on all mosque drawings and designs

Opening today at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, a new exhibition explores the creation of a fascinating new mosque designed by Australia's eminent architect, Glenn Murcutt AO.

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith documents the design and construction process of the new Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, which respects the fundamental principles of the faith-based practice while forgoing many of the traditional tenets of Islamic architecture, like the minaret tower and ceiling domes. Instead, the first 'contemporary Australian mosque' of its kind will feature an unmistakably Murcutt design with flourishes redolent of his many signatures, including minimalism, raw materials, transparency, open glass frontage and a surplus of natural light filtered through a roof punctuated by 96 hand-painted, multi-coloured gold lanterns that reflect different coloured lights into the mosque depending on the time of day to symbolise themes including paradise, nature and strength, amongst others.

Murcutt, 80, is one of Australia's most critically-acclaimed and internationally awarded architects and is the only recipient of the international Pritzker Prize, which is the architecture world's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Over the course of the last decade, Murcutt has collaborated with Hakan Elevli of Melbourne practice Elevli Plus, the Islamic council of Newport, its Imams, community leaders and local Islamic architects on the design and construction of the community-funded mosque, which is slated to open in early 2017 and will include a library and a restaurant.

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith will include original sketches by Murcutt, plans, photography, scale models and documentary footage. The exhibition is on display from August 9 until February 19 2017 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia in Federation Square. Entry is free. 


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Glenn Murcutt AO at Architecture of Faith; Elevated roof detail showing lantern layout, the Australian Islamic Centre at Newport, designed by Glenn Murcutt and Elevli Plus in collaboration, 2016
Credit: Sean Fennessy and Tobias Titz
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Installation view of Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith
Credit: Sean Fennessy
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Hakan Elevli and Glenn Murcutt AO at Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Credit: Sean Fennessy
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Installation view of Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Credit: Sean Fennessy

Tile and cover image: Australian Islamic Centre, architecture sketch, 2006–16, pen and ink, collection of the architect © Copyright held by G. Murcutt on all mosque drawings and design