Australian Islamic Centre, Melbourne, Australia, by Glenn Murcutt
Best new public building
Architect Glenn Murcutt’s mosque in Newport, Melbourne, translates Islamic design into its suburban Australian context. Working with architect Hakan Elevli, who brought with him an experience of the Islamic faith, Murcutt found a balance between maintaining architectural aspects essential to worship, and introducing features that modernised and related to the local community. Following the traditional mosque plan, a formation of 24 steel columns defines three bays of connecting spaces across two levels. But instead of the typically domed roof, a striking façade engages worshippers, while the minaret becomes an elevated wall, positioned at the entrance courtyard to signal visibility and accessibility. Glass doors open up into the double-height prayer hall, where coloured roof lanterns illuminate the space with triangular patterns of yellow, green, blue and red light. While the design is modern, the Australian Islamic Centre also references the long, column-supported rooms in the home of the Prophet Muhammad, built in the seventh century and considered the first mosque.
Key features: A contemporary take on the traditional mosque, featuring steel columns, raw concrete walls and coloured lantern skylights
Architects’ previous work: Fletcher-Page House, Kangaroo Valley, Australia; Moss Vale Education Centre, University of Wollongong, Australia; Bowali Visitor Information Centre, Kakadu National Park, Australia
Photography: Piers Taylor