Nudgee Junior College – Chapel Refurbishment
The original chapel space within the Nudgee junior College campus was no longer being used as a chapel and the desire of the school was to once again use the chapel as originally intended. Because the chapel had fallen into a state of disrepair and was in need of expansion to accommodate the growing school, Fulton Trotter Architects was appointed to refurbish the space.
The aim of the refurbishment was to bring the chapel back to its original state, maintaining the integrity of the original heritage listed building and improving the chapel without radical modification. The school population has expanded since the chapel was planned and the refurbishment needed to allow for this growing school community. This was achieved by removing the storage areas at the back of the space and opening the entire space up for use as a chapel facility. The altar platform was extended and tiered seating added at the rear allowing for additional seating and performance areas for the school choir. The clearing of the surrounding corridor and the refurbishment of the stairwell leading to the chapel were also undertaken to fully restore the chapel precinct. Removal of the storage rooms within the chapel were the major structural modifications with other works involving the repair of damaged or ageing elements and the addition of elements to enhance certain characteristics of the space.
The new design elements – the layering of materials and textures, subtle coloured light effect and judicious use of materials all maintain the integrity of the existing while increasing its overall appeal. These elements also change the focus and proportion of the room making it more conducive to use as a chapel.
Solid timber battened screening to the altar area creates a dynamic point of interest with the added function of visually incorporating television screens, carefully bringing the chapel into the 21st century. The use of battens internally is a reiteration of use of battens externally, elements of some of the more recently completed architectural features of the campus.
Lighting is a feature, both natural and artificial. The existing stained glass windows have been emphasised by the removal of the storage areas and opening up of the room. The original stained glass has also been restored and added to with the inclusion of glass artworks by local artists. Featured pendant lighting throws a subtle lighting effect and has been selected for its ethereal quality and stylistic connection to the stained glass.
Glass and timber feature heavily in the refurbishment, with timber being the strong connection between new and old. The original pews have been taken out of storage and refurbished to present a message of religious practise and order. The orderly placement of timber pews works to connect and contrast with the dynamic use of timber in the screening to the altar and at the rear of the chapel. Glass is also used in this way with the historic stained glass connecting with the modern, clean, curved glass housing the timber cross as the centre piece of the altar. These material selections deliver a coherent feel to the chapel and assist with the harmony needed for an often contemplative and reverential space.
The refurbishment has successfully brought together the new and the old to provide a welcoming and effective zone for ritual and religious practise. The chapel once again functions as it was intended and is an asset to the Nudgee Junior College community.
- Mark Trotter
- Hayley Crofts
- Shannon Daly
- Louisa McCoy