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University of Melbourne Islamic Prayer Facility

Aug 12, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Maria Selitti
  • Architect Desypher

The new state-of-the-art Islamic Prayer Facility at the University of Melbourne is designed to accommodate 300 praying people.

The brilliantly coloured welcome of “peace be upon you” adorns the entry door in contrast with the sombre and tranquil main prayer space where softly lit ceiling domes, raw colours and materials and pure simplicity of space prepare one to bring to rest whirring thoughts of the mundane world.

Once in the main prayer hall, the focus is drawn to the Qiblah wall – the direction of prayer. Layers of artwork, made up of layers of transliterated calligraphy, viewed through a steel wire mesh screen and under the subtle play of light and shadow precede the original face brickwork stands alone in the surrounding austerity.

The depth of space is created by deconstructing the physical barrier of the wall allowing a praying person to submerge deep in prayer beyond the confined space.

ESD inspired aesthetic features include ceiling domes that accommodate sensor-operated extraction fans, relocatable screens for flexibility of use and lighting level sensors.

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

*Team:* architect – Saeed Seyyed; designers – Issam Nabulsi, Khalid Bouden

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