Glenn Murcutt: touch the Earth lightly with your housing footprint

Glenn murcutt: touch the earth lightly with your housing footprint
Lanterns on the roof of the partially constructed Australian Islamic Centre and Newport mosque, which Glenn Murcutt designed in co-operation with Melbourne-based Muslim architect Hakan Elevli / © Tobias Titz/National Gallery of Victoria

Acclaimed architect whose Melbourne mosque project has rejected traditional elements says he ‘would die’ if he had to live in an outer suburban housing estate

Glenn Murcutt has urged Australian developers to stop the urban sprawl, saying he “would die” if he had to live in an outer suburban housing estate.

The internationally acclaimed Australian architect is famous for sensitive, sustainable designs that work with the landscape; designs like the the open-cave structure and simple sloping roof of the Simpson-Lee house, or the butterflied roof of the Magney house.

His latest, and possibly most ambitious, project is the construction of a totally new type of mosque for the Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, Melbourne.

Murcutt spoke to Guardian Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne’s Federation Square, which is holding an exhibition of the mosque project.

It’s a project he began in late 2004 with the Melbourne-based Muslim architect Hakan Elevli, after receiving a call from a community member searching for an architect interested in designing “a mosque that was not necessarily a traditional mosque”.

It was an interesting pairing: Murcutt’s only previous experience with Islamic architecture was judging the Aga Khan award for architecture in 2001, and some more conservative Muslims were concerned by his decisions that traditional elements such as a gold dome or a minaret would not be included in the building. […]