This stunning renovation of a church dating back to 1950 took shape of a contemporary addition of 1200 square meters. It is located in the suburb of Auburn Heights (in Auburnville, Victoria, in the South West corner of Melbourne, in the inner north-east with swathes of green park views) and has been awarded the highest residential value in the 2011 Australian Residential Architecture Awards (ABA).

This property is a perfect example of a “mitigated” design that considers environmental quality, user level of lifestyle, cost and cost effectiveness in the context of ongoing construction and other lifestyle factors. The conclusion was to create a church conversion that responds to the ighed and fits the natural context of the suburb.

The original church is now inhabited by a family who loves the west as much as the east. The living needs are substantially increased due to the design, which reduces the need to resort to lighting and ventilation enhancements. The design also enables a greater emphasis on play and able light. The costs to reduce the construction of a church were presumably millions. However, in court to court the client a modest budget was intelligently employed.

The weight of the converted church rests on the church which weighs over 750kg and takes almost no construction time. The planned reconstruction of the church should reduce this weight and speed of construction. The church conversion in this case was not only an aesthetic element, but a functional and economic one as well. The church conversion has maximised our potential to use the building to the hilt and has incidentally helped to retain a larger footprint.

The church conversion in Adelaide therefore uses its great potential in the context of considerable heritage importance. It therefore accommodates and protects the significant heritage trees in the surrounding area and in particular the stroke of Victorian and Edwardian heritage trees.

In this context the design can reasonably accommodate and enhance the existing Edwardian and Victorian elements and in particular the lateral boundaries of the church and the original paving that date back to 1837. The potential of the space is to grow and expand, repositioned at will to create dynamic spaces full of light and sight.”

Photos by: Michael Evans

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