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St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel // Architectus

Christchurch, New Zealand

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Text description provided by the architects.

Architectus won the design competition for a new chapel following the damage to the original Memorial Chapel in the Canterbury earthquakes. Christchurch has lost a lot of its built heritage, and retaining a memory of the original Chapel as well as the memorial aspect of honoring the Old Collegians is an important part of the concept for the new chapel.

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To this end the design uses familiar regional forms (roof), materials (brick, stone, timber) and salvaged elements from the original chapel which have been brought together in a 40 meter long brick ‘Memorial’ wall. The nave is defined by the brick faced Memorial Wall on the north and a timber clad foyer and vestry to the east and west.

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The campus facing south side is realised as a folded glass screen; light and ethereal it is a window to the college; it stands in dialogue and contrast to the heavy, earthy Memorial Wall. Special spaces for the Book of Remembrance, baptismal font and contemplation are contained within the memorial wall.

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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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The chapel’s roof with its ridges and valleys reminds us of the first church buildings in Canterbury – the ‘V-huts’. The 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..

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St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel Gallery

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