Punchbowl Mosque by Candalepas Associates
Public Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
Punchbowl Mosque is a sublime essay in the potency of in situ concrete. The mosque is singularly defined by its intimate but simultaneously dramatic prayer room with a floating array of corbelled bisected hemispherical domes. Although to be completed in stages, the project already has a presence.
The dome array, which was also created in one pour, culminates in a floating central oculus of radial and stepped concrete, then timber, that hovers on its own glow of light. As in most spiritual spaces, the gaze is continually drawn to the heavens above.
The corbelling and the contingent play of perspective in some moments echo the relieving arches of the Pantheon while also emulating the light quality experienced in much larger and older mosques. The use of hemisphere domes as a motif or texture also references the architectural history of the dome as a structural technology. Cascading domes conjure up another time and place and it is this ploy of redefining timelessness that makes this project profoundly clever as it responds to the challenge of connecting a contemporary piece of architecture to the architectural history of a religion.
Punchbowl Mosque will be reviewed by Mark Raggatt in a future issue of Architecture Australia.