As perhaps the first truly contemporary Australian mosque, the Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, Melbourne, is an architectural and social marker of a new perception of Islam in Australia. By respectfully recalibrating historical Islamic design conventions, in line with the contemporary Australia – a country with a well-established and growing Muslim population – this project heralds a new interpretation of mosques as a future part of our suburbs.
In designing this building, Pritzker Architecture Prize–winning architect Glenn Murcutt has drawn on modernist principles while responding to the project’s community and traditional contexts. The building’s construction, from 2006 to 2018, is as much a story of Murcutt’s architectural capacity as it is of his adeptness at mediating a range of viewpoints. Through the transparency and openness of its formal design, this mosque offers a new look inside walls traditionally closed to outsiders, and thus acts as a form of communication in itself.