In place of the dome are 96 three-meter-high, hand-painted lanterns positioned to face four points. The tessellated roof captures and directs sunlight into the 1200 square meter prayer room through multi-coloured glass triangles. Yellow panels symbolising paradise will filter light in the morning, followed by blue (water) and green (nature) at midday, with blood red representing strength to illuminate the space beneath in the later afternoon.
Inspired by the home of the Prophet Muhammad, the centre incorporates traditional mosque geometry through 24 steel columns. Other design features include the qibla wall and shallow pool which will cast sunlight and water movements into the prayer hall. The centre will also have educational facilities, including a library on the ground floor holding Islamic and Arabic resources, and Arabic language classes open to the entire community will also be on offer at the centre for those interested.
In association with The Australian Islamic Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria is currently showcasing an exhibition titled Architecture of Faith at the Ian Potter Centre which explores the history and design process of the Islamic Centre through 200 original sketches, architectural drawings, scale-models and material samples. Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith aims to challenge preconceived ideas of what a mosque is and whether a Westerner’s perception of Islam can be altered through architecture and modern design.
The Islamic Society of Newport began searching for a suitable site in 1995, settling on 23–31 Blenheim Road, and the centre is set to open in late 2016.