To celebrate the near completion of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt’s Australian Islamic Centre – located at Hobsons Bay, Melbourne – the National Gallery of Victoria has unveiled its newest exhibition, titled ‘Architecture of Faith’, which will expose the multi-layered process behind the Centre’s creation.
Throughout the build, Pritzker Prize-winner Murcutt worked closely with Hakan Elevli of Melbourne practice Elevli Plus and the Newport Islamic Council, also calling upon the consultation of Islamic architects, imams and the local community. This constant communication with the Centre’s future visitors consequently led to the creation of a highly functional, communal space which provides a new type of architectural language for Australian Islam.
Noticeably lacking a minaret or dome, the Centre is a bright and colourful creation, featuring a roof studded with multicoloured glass lanterns. Murcutt’s design hoped to push the architectural envelope, whilst simultaneously respecting the fundamental principles and requirements of traditional Islamic architecture, to envision a contemporary, accessible place of worship.
Showcasing over 200 original sketches by Murcutt, ‘Architecture of Faith’ will reveal the history of and people involved in the Centre’s ten-year conception. The exhibition will illustrate Murcutt's multilayered design via a presentation of architectural drawings, plans, photographs, scale models and documentation of the nearly completed complex.
Even though the Australian Islamic Centre is due to open later this year, ‘Architecture of Faith’ will provide its future visitors with an early inside glimpse into the project from a variety of perspectives. The exhibit hopes to highlight the various contributions the project will make to the surrounding community and its ability to foster intercultural understanding.