A new contemporary mosque, 23 years in the making, is not far away from opening its doors, and the unique design is the work of Greek Australian Angelo Candalepas.
The award-winning architect behind Candalepas Associates is no stranger to religious projects, having worked alongside Belmore’s All Saints Orthodox Church on designing All Saints Grammar Primary School.
But he admits when he was approached by the Australian Islamic Mission (AIM), he was initially surprised and unsure about taking the project on.
“I didn’t know what to say. What do you say when someone asks you to do what could be one of the most important buildings [to their community], particularly when their aspirations are so lofty?” Mr Candalepas told the ABC.
The architect revealed that praying to God, and seeking the spiritual guidance of a Greek Orthodox priest was what helped him in coming to an affirmative final decision.
“He said ‘We are all the children of God, and you must do every single one of these projects and they must be the most important projects of your life’,” he recalled.
Known as the Punchbowl mosque, the project has been championed by non-profit organisation AIM since the mid-1990s and is being made possible with funding from the community through grants, donations and non-interest-bearing loans.
The impressive place of worship, which puts a contemporary spin on what is a space where religious traditions are observed, is expected to open its doors ahead of the end of Ramadan, Muslim holy month, which falls on 14 June.