The Chapel for St Mary MacKillop College was designed as a sanctuary where the people are surrounded by sacred geometries and symbolism. The Chapel provides a minimalist space where nature and light are represented within white frosted glass, timber and marble.
As a design response to the introverted and disconnected nature of the original Chapel, the new Chapel was carefully sited to engage with the staff and students. It has become the heart of the school; a tangible presence in everyone’s journey throughout the day.
The architecture is respectful of the existing building; new construction is limited to an insertion of a crystalline structure within an underutilised courtyard space. The new structure is visible through contained sightlines from significant moments within the academic realm and becoming the physical expression of ‘altar’ – a symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit.
The spatial arrangement of the chapel provides a sequence of compression at the entry as the existing ceiling height is retained. Whereas in the new construction, the ceiling is allowed to soar sharply; an easing of volume to gather light and provide a setting for objects of celebration. The tactile change in materiality from timber to glass, articulate the existing and the new. Furthermore it plays on the notion of light and shadow, light representing the new and shadow reminiscent of the old.
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