Te Kāreti o Hāto Ānaru Te Kotahi Rau Tau o te Whare Karakia
St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel

Te Kāreti o Hāto Ānaru Te Kotahi Rau Tau o te Whare Karakia

 

St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel

Client:
St Andrew's College

Location:
Christchurch

Completion:
2016

Size:
1,197m2

Architectus won the design competition for a new chapel following the damage to the original Memorial Chapel in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Christchurch lost a lot of its built heritage. Retaining a memory of the original Chapel as well as the memorial aspect of honouring the Old Collegians was an important part of the concept for the new chapel.

To this end the design uses materials including brick, stone and timber and salvaged elements from the original Chapel which have been brought together in a forty metre long Memorial Wall. Special spaces for the Book of Remembrance, the baptismal font and for contemplation are contained within the four metre deep wall.

The Chapel’s roof is based on familiar regional forms – its ridges and valleys remind us of the ‘V-huts’, the first church buildings in Canterbury. The roof’s central valley folds up to create additional volume over the nave where it is punctuated by a lantern in the location of the original bell tower; it is a skylight, houses the old bell and makes another connection between the old and the new.

The nave is defined by the brick faced Memorial Wall on the north, a timber clad foyer on the west and vestry to the east. The south facade is realised as a folded glass screen. It is light and ethereal and stands in dialogue and contrast to the heavy, earthy Memorial Wall.

Sliding doors connect nave to foyer and the covered entry terrace. The congregation sits on re-used pews and new chairs, arranged as a collection of seating groups – establishing an intermediate scale between the individual and the group. The orientation of the pews allows the congregation to form a relationship with the college community via the visual connection to the school as the backdrop for ceremony.

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Against a backdrop of so much lost heritage, St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel celebrates the richness of memory that only time can shape, and resets it as part of a forty metre-long brick ‘Memorial Wall’. This is an exemplar of adaptive reuse, respectful of past Collegians, housing special spaces and treasured elements. 

NZIA Canterbury Jury Citation 2018

“… we certainly seem to have achieved a fantastic outcome – a space that encourages contemplation, quiet reflection and a sense of community, and which allows us just ‘to be’. That’s very important in today’s world.”

Christine Leighton, Rector, St Andrew’s College

The new St Andrew’s Centennial Chapel also explodes the modernist myth that integrating new and old building elements will inevitably result in a compromised design. The finely detailed elegance of the new steel and glass structure gains richness and resonance through its juxtaposition with the traditional building materials, repurposed doors and windows and reused furnishings. Such a layering of meaning would have been virtually impossible to achieve in a purely modern design.

Ian Lochhead, Architecture New Zealand, March 2017

Client:
St Andrew's College

Location:
Christchurch

Completion:
2016

Size:
1,197m2

Awards

NZIA John Scott Award for Public Architecture 2018
NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award – Public 2018
Canterbury Heritage Award – Future Heritage 2018
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Public 2018
Interior Award – Civic 2017