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University of Melbourne Muslim Prayer Facility

Project: University of Melbourne Muslim Prayer Facility

Client: University of Melbourne

Category: Community/Place Making

Time: 2009

"Congratulations on this public celebration of a truly beautiful space. The University recognises the powerful contribution the Musalla makes to our community as a place and a concept within our community." Garry Thomson (Director, Wellbeing Services).

When the University of Melbourne allocated a larger and more convenient location for a Muslim Prayer Facility, following the success of the Desypher designed existing facility completed in 1999, we took the opportunity to incorporate new materials and interpretations of traditional archetypes to reflect an avant-garde proposal that seemed appropriate for a university.

A community wide art competition was held for the abstract graphics including the "peace be upon you" that greeted at the entry doors. Veils obscured the idea of a solid wall limiting space when praying and the minbar and mihrab were presented in an unapologetically cutting edge form.

The "Star Trek Enterprise Bridge" domes featured lighting that dimmed or brightened inversely with natural lighting levels and hid extraction fans that ramped up in peak occupancy periods when higher carbon dioxide levels were sensed.

A mesh clad screen on wheels organically defined the space for males and females according to usage/

The facility represents a reflective projection of contemporary Islamic architectural design into the modern era whilst adhering to the very design principles that were refined over centuries.

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