A few years ago I saw the exhibition at NGv about the design for the new Mosque. Murcutt and Melbourne practice Elevli Plus worked with the Newport Islamic Council for nearly a decade on the creation of a contemporary Australian mosque and Islamic centre. Importantly, this significant building has been funded and built by members of the local community.
What started out as a straightforward search for new facilities became a project embraced by Australia's most internationally celebrated architect. Murcutt is the country's only recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize – architecture's equivalent of the Nobel – a distinction that puts him on a par with global giants such as Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and the late Zaha Hadid.His designs all aim to reflect and include nature and are open to the surrounding landscape.
|It was this house design that won the Pritzker Prize.|
So he certainly was not interested in a project for a traditional Mosque with Minarets and domes.
He didn't even want a tower and minaret but rather his interpretation of a minaret, the peak with crescent, will symbolise his vision of a contemporary Australian place of prayer. It isn't a traditional round tower .
The film I saw is not just about his work and designs but the amazing faith of the Newport Muslim community who funded and supported the Mosques building even when many of the older community must have been very sceptical . He worked with a local architect and many of the construction teamwork form the community, as well as much local tradesmen contributing. The tiled forecourt was laid by all the tilers in the community!
Newport (Mason Street near Williamtown Rd) Lebanese immigrants surged into the area during the 15-year civil war that started in 1975, mainly from the small country's northern villages of Mish Mish and Fnaidek. There are now more Indian, Vietnamese and Greek-born people in Hobsons Bay than Lebanese-born, but according to the 2011 census, Arabic is still the main non-English language spoken here.
|The upstairs womens space with shutters and the glass panels|
|The angles of the concrete slabs means that there is always nature to see.|
|From the entrance drive off Blenheim St |
Still needs the garden landscaping
|The minaret on a 16ft wall|
|Glass front walls of the Womens area stairs|
|Lofty ceilings with some of the Lanterns|
|The water feature will eventually be full and reflect indoors|
|The size of the space|
|The carving is lighted by whichever angle Lantern is directed on it at the time of day|
|The Lanterns are like light wells all white except for the glass of different colours|
|The lanterns from the back car park|
|It is surrounded by trees |
One is the golf course an date other the Miniature Railway, that came chugging by as we left