The Australian Islamic Center is the first truly contemporary Australian Mosque located in Newport, Melbourne. Built by Elevli Plus and Glenn Murcutt, the mosque is a representation of a new perception of Islam in Australia as the country with the growing number of the Muslim population.
In addition, this project is intended to bring out the new interpretation of mosques as a future part of Australia’s suburbs.
When designing this mosque, Murcutt took into account modernist principles combined with the traditional contexts of the Muslim community. He also designed the building to highlight its transparency and openness in order to offer a new look inside walls that traditionally closed to outsiders, acting as a form of communication.
The construction commenced from 2006 to 2018. The project’s brief was to design a modern and Australian building that would instigate a positive interpretation of the mosque as an architectural feature of suburban Australia.
Regardless of the contemporary approach, the architects still embraced Islamic design traditions while at the same time addressing the spirit of local and Australian communities in general. The mosque is to be inclusive but still respectful of people of all faiths.
The architect was inspired by the functional and semiotic language found in the traditional mosque architecture. They included fundamentals, such as a large columned central prayer hall and the orientation towards a mihrab’s Mecca within a qibla wall.
There are also bodies of still water as well as the provision of facilities for ablutions completed before the prayer. Like all traditional mosque buildings, the Australian Islamic Center has separate spaces to pray for men and women.
These lanterns are glazed in symbolic colors of Islam; green, blue, red, and yellow. The lanterns face the four points of the compass, resulting in triangle colored daylight penetrated into the building.
The Australian Islamic Center consists of two levels. The first floor is dedicated to a congregational hall, commercial kitchen, café, sporting hall, and library, while the second floor offers a series of elevated spaces specifically for women.