Building a community

It isn’t enough to celebrate and acknowledge Bendigo’s embrace with a simple ‘thankyou’. The Bendigo Islamic Association and the Australian Islamic Mission want to repay that support with a facility the entire community will be proud of.

A diverse and pluralistic Muslim community living within a magnificent landscape has provided an opportunity to create something special, to ensure the Bendigo Islamic Community Centre is one of a kind.

In celebration of the Australian way of life, the BICC will be one of the most open Islamic facilities in the country, if not the world.

The Bendigo Islamic Community Centre will be a facility the entire community can be proud of.Architect Asher Greenwood

Its design is not centred around a prayer hall, but a stunning community courtyard, open to the public.

There will be no fences, easy access and a range of community facilities, including a café, sports hall, a library and a space for women and children to gather during prayer times.

In fact, the mosque itself will make up less than a quarter of the site footprint, encouraging access by the wider Bendigo community.

However, it’s not just people that have influenced the BICC design.

Bendigo’s grand architecture has been moulded by one man – William C Vahland. More than 200 buildings and public structures throughout the city and the region bear his sandstone signature.

As well as grand designs, Vahland gave the city its inexpensive Miners’ Cottage template, allowing a mass of mud, mineshafts and messy tents to become a safe and prosperous community.

Architect Asher Greenwood has moulded Vahland’s influence into his BICC design, incorporating decorative ironwork, Victorian-era grandeur and practicality, sandstone colours and goldmining icons.

Within a bush setting, the BICC uses the classical Australian natural light to bring the environment indoors, and showcase the local landscape – resulting in both cultural and natural transparency.

At the request of the local Muslim community, the BICC is non-monumental, but pays homage to the city’s past, reflects its present and celebrates its future.