Finely crafted chapel embraces and engages its diverse community
The real story about this building is one of human experiences. It is a building of contrasts and multiple layers (multiple religious faiths, diverse public community including resident military personnel and families, materials, light, views). Successfully reinterpreting a place of worship, this Chapel reflects the tradition of sacred spaces whilst meeting a challenging brief of accommodating multiple religious faiths and diverse community needs in a sympathetic yet contemporary environment. The singular use of black zinc as the facade material is solemnly juxtaposed by the richly crafted spaces within. The composition of each space was considered for use, material, tactility, light quality and experiential quality.
Three internal courtyards, integral to the architecture of the building, enable various religious spaces to be sensitively separated, achieving privacy for individuals and groups and providing multi function to the building, enabling day light, external amenity and views from spaces that would have otherwise been internalised. The experiences within this building have been carefully considered physically, visually and emotively. A glazed pavilion prayer room for non Christian faiths is wrapped in a field of poppies within metal panels. A large covered courtyard reveals the 1915 In Flanders Field poem on its walls, punctuated with shafts of light from three large round roof openings above. Chapels have a long tradition within the military context.
The new Chapel symbolises a new direction for the Australian Defence Force and how it publically worships-embracing other faiths and importantly recognising the need for quality community/public spaces in what is often a transient environment. The new building is highly sustainable. Multiple sustainable outcomes have been achieved - social, economic and environmental - all delivered within a very modest budget. The result is a series of inspiring spaces that embrace users and the broader community, providing a rich harmonious sanctuary for people of all faiths whilst demonstrating a sensitive exploration of space and program.