St. Patrick's Church - WSP Architecture | ArchiPro

St. Patrick's Church

NZIA Canterbury Branch Award Winner 2020 - Interior Architecture

NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards 2020 : Public Design

DINZ Best Awards - Finalist 2020

St. Patrick’s Church replaces an old church on the same site, which was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes, and provides a new place of worship for over 200 local parishioners.

The old church sat uncomfortably between the existing presbytery and parish centre with car parking located on the prominent junction of Gerald Street and West Belt. The location of the new church ensures it has a place of prominence on the site, it acts as a beacon to the community, and is not subservient to any other structures or necessary facilities. It integrates more seamlessly with the existing parish centre that is retained and the existing streetscape. To aid the architectural transition, the new extensions to the existing parish centre incorporate materiality of the new church and the link is via a glazed lobby.

The design follows the guiding principles outlined in “Gods Dwelling Place, Building Firm in Faith” prepared for the Diocesesan rebuild programme. In the first instance, St. Patrick’s Church is a house of God and a symbolic structure that is defined by its purpose. It has been designed in a traditional cruciform plan arrangement. Each space is significant to the liturgy and informs the hierarchy and spatial arrangement of the church.

Materials have been selected to provide resilience to the structure but also draw on the enduring beauty of natural finishes. For this purpose, the super structure is formed using laminate timbers which are set in from the externals wall to give them prominence and create side aisles in the Nave. The vaulted timber ceiling created gives the Nave a sense of vertical scale that reinforces the transcendence of the space. This verticality is enhanced as you enter the space from the Narthex which has a lower ceiling height.

Externally the walls are grounded with precast concrete panels and then transition to vertical cedar shiplap boarding. This is a design strategy to provide the parish privacy whilst also providing a visible reminder of structural permanence. The material transition to cedar softens the façade of the building and provide a warm quality to the external appearance. The elevation is further softened by penetration of vertical glazing elements that in turn flood the interior spaces with natural light.

The integration of existing joinery was integral to the design and therefore the existing timber pews and marble alter top were reused and refurbished in keeping with the new church.

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