Glenn Murcutt. Architecture of Faith

9 Aug 2016 — 19 Feb 2017 at National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia

Glenn Murcutt, Architecture of Faith. Courtesy of NGV
Glenn Murcutt, Architecture of Faith. Courtesy of NGV
13 DEC 2016

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith is a unique exhibition that explores the new Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, Victoria, designed by world-renowned Australian architect Glenn Murcutt AO in collaboration with Hakan Elevli of Melbourne practice Elevli Plus.

Murcutt, Australia’s most internationally celebrated architect, has devoted nearly a decade to the project, working with Elevli and the Newport Islamic Council to create a contemporary Australian mosque and Islamic centre. The building, its roof studded with multi-coloured glass lanterns and without the traditional minaret or dome, challenges assumptions of historical Islamic architecture and puts forward a new architectural language for Australian Islam.

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith will reveal the history, process and people behind the Australian Islamic Centre through 200 original sketches by Murcutt, architectural drawings and plans, photography, scale models, life-size building elements and documentary footage.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said: ‘Architecture of Faith allows visitors to understand Murcutt’s unique and multilayered design approach through the lens of one project, from original inception sketches to photographs of the near-finished building.

‘The Australian Islamic Centre is a significant building and one deserving of closer examination. This exhibition explores the project from multiple perspectives to reveal the contribution that architecture can make to a community and its ability to foster intercultural understanding.’

The Australian Islamic Centre, which is due to open in late 2016, has involved significant consultation with local Islamic architects, Imams and community leaders and, importantly, been funded and built by the local community.

While respecting the fundamental principles and requirements of Islamic architecture, Murcutt and Elevli have pushed beyond the symbolic language of the traditional mosque, reimagining its geometry, colours, materiality and spatial organisation to create an accessible and contemporary place of worship, learning and community.

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith is on display at NGV Australia from 9 August 2016 – 19 February 2017. Open daily, 10am-5pm. Entry is free.

Glenn Murcutt AO is one of Australia’s most respected architects. He has received twenty-five Australian architecture awards, including the RAIA Gold Medal, and international awards such as the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize; Alvar Aalto Medal (Finland); Richard Neutra Award (United States); ‘Green Pin’ International Award for Architecture and Ecology (Denmark); and the Asia Pacific Culture and Architecture Design Award.

Murcutt was born in London, to Australian parents, in 1936. He grew up in the Morobe district of New Guinea, where he developed an appreciation for simple, primitive architecture. After graduating in 1961 with a degree in architecture from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Murcutt travelled for two years before returning to Sydney to work in the office of Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley. He remained with this firm for five years before establishing his own practice in 1970.

Murcutt’s small but exemplary practice is well known for its environmentally sensitive designs with a distinctive Australian character. His buildings, which are principally residential, are a blend of modernist sensibility, local craftsmanship and respect for nature.