Tradition, Identity and Adaptation: Mosque Architecture in South-East Queensland
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Among the many layers of the Australian built environment exists the often invisible constructs of a diasporic and multinational Muslim population. These additions essentially contribute to the diversity of a multicultural modern Australia and its architecture. Of the most distinctive facets of Muslim religious and cultural identity is the figuring, appearance and status of the mosque within a community—both for an Islamic population for which this building serves as the centre of a cohesive religious community; and for the multicultural society into which the Muslim community is integrated. This paper examines the translation of Islamic identity through a study of the mosque architecture of South-East Queensland and the place of these buildings within the discourse of Australian architecture. A firsthand survey of the mosques of South-East Queensland offers insights into the broader relationship between Islamic and Australian architecture. The paper will offer a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the history and dynamics governing the place of Islam in Australian society through the study of what would otherwise be considered architecture that is neither iconic nor noteworthy. Each building examined in this paper is the result of a negotiation between maintaining a sense of collective Islamic identity, ethnic traditions, as well as the contextual adaptation to local norms using available resources. For the most part, Muslims in Australia look to conventional architectural elements, theologically informed programme, and traditional building forms in order to reaffirm a familiar Islamic identity. Ultimately the cultural diversity represented in these buildings enriches the cultural landscape and reflects the migratory history of multicultural Australia. Through the study of a discrete set of buildings, this paper considers how Queensland’s contemporary Muslim community addresses the debates and possibilities of contemporary architecture. It positions mosque architecture as a potent site of intercultural exchange that fosters and extends the role and appearance of a traditional and transnational building type in an Australian context.
Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand OPEN: The Thirtieth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, proceedings
© 2013 SAHANZ. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Architectural History and Theory