This church conversion, located in High Point on Sydney, Australia, is a 2012 project by Miller Dalkey Architects.
High Point is a suburb located in the north-Western corner of Sydney, that includes a number of renowned hotels and cultural buildings, such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Church Renovation in High Point by Miller Dalkey Architects:
“A mid-century modernist church located in High Point on Sydney’s High Point has been given a thorough renovation to bring a light and airy contemporary extension to the church while maintaining the building’s classic features.
The church has long history of residential use in the Domain, and has been feteing residents since 1910.
The proposal involved the demolition of the existing church and demolition of the church’s supporting facilities. Work to reinstate the church’s distinctive features included the installation of a new building rim (referred to as a ‘canyon’ by the locals) around the central altar, and the construction of an extensive open-plan kitchen, dining and living space.
To accommodate the new building rim and surrounding land, the church’s north side has been demolished, leaving a large expanse of low-slung, park-like interiors (sports courts for the public) that stretch out into the landscaped gardens – accessed by a glass roof extension, providing direct access to the park.
In addition to the destruction of the existing church, the inclusion of a separate altar room, while retaining the high ceiling height of the original church, has created not only an impressive sight, but an ethereal connection between the two spaces.
The open-plan kitchen and dining space flanked by the newly cut back living room and with framing wide glass windows has become the social hub of the house, bringing natural light into the central open-plan area and allowing the walls to dissolve the boundaries between in and outside.
A seamless transition between the kitchen and living/dining space is created via a full-height pivot front door, which opens out onto the front garden while also defining the kitchen unit’s borders.
To accommodate the needs of a young family plus the design requirements to accommodate practical life, the original church has been retained intact. Large decorative glass panels, which also permit unobstructed views of the landscape, are placed over the high bench that covers the main reception room, while the adjoining family room has been re-organized to facilitate the manager and the guests to meet and greet.
The main decorated space has been opened to the family with the creation of a new study and guest room; the personal space houses the bedrooms of the children (guest bathrooms) while the recreated “Carage” swimming pool has been expanded towards the existing swimming pool.
A new outdoor dining space has been created by the removal of an existing garden terrace. This new space is surrounded by greenery (above the old one) and looks out onto the old church beyond. A feature of the area is the re-emposition of an existing open car porch (replaced by a sectionally replaced covered parking space), making the porch the extension of the family room.
The original part of the town house is preserved in its measure with a set of sculptural stairs and a double height powder room.
The proportion and height of the existing outbuildings was respected, and in order to make the most of the available space and conforming to the local scale of reference, the addition is kept to a minimum.”
Photos by: John Gollings