St Barnabas church and adjacent community hall, located on Sydney's busy Broadway, were destroyed by fire in May 2006. A Sydney institution for over 145 years, efforts to rebuild the church began almost immediately. The architecture of the new church complex seeks to respond to the qualities and great opportunity of this special site in the city, and equally importantly, to the great sense of openness, welcoming and joy that characterises St Barnabas.
The new church offers a peaceful oasis of gathering and worship within the busy noise of the city. It provides a balance of open courtyard, landscaped gardens, informal and formal, fixed and flexible spaces. At the centre of the church is the informal social-heart gathering spaces and the calm peaceful space of worship.
The gentle rising curved volumes of the worship space characterise and focus the appearance of the church in the city. The worship space, with its folding floor that wraps up around the congregation and opens up to soft cloud-like ceilings, is conceived like an open-hand under the sky; a warm, protective, generous and light-fill space. Complementing the worship space is the counter-curved form of the foyer and social-heart that rises in a gesture of welcome and invitation to the central landscaped courtyard.
Separating these curved forms and courtyard from the street are the linear sheltering frame and canopies that define the entrance streetscape and steps up to the courtyard. These fine frames of off-form concrete open to the street though large windows that accommodate the shop and meeting spaces beneath the awning canopies that project out over the footpath.
The forms of this church are structured, assembled and finished in simple, modest materials, concrete, compressed cement sheet, steel and glass.