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Architecture: Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel

October 25, 2011

BVN Architecture’s elegant and simple building delivers a sacred space for diverse faiths, with light-filled courtyards and rooms designed for personal reflection.

The new chapel is a successful reinterpretation of a place of worship, reflecting the tradition of sacred spaces while meeting a challenging brief to accommodate multiple religious faiths in a sympathetic yet contemporary environment. It is a simple, elegant building designed for diverse beliefs and cultures – delivered within a very modest budget.

The design philosophy was to extract physical space from within a three-dimensional black zinc box, with internal courtyards representing the volumes that had been extracted from the building. The experiences within this building have been carefully considered physically, visually and emotively.

The singular use of zinc as the façade material is juxtaposed by the richness of the spaces within. The composition of each space was considered for use, materiality, tactility, light quality and experiential quality. Three internal courtyards, integral to the architecture of the building, enable religious spaces to be sensitively separated, achieving privacy for individuals and groups, providing multi-functionality to the building, and enabling daylight, external amenity and views from spaces that otherwise would have been internalised.

The glazed pavilion prayer room for non-Christian faiths is wrapped in a field of poppies within metal panels. A large covered courtyard reveals the Flanders Field poem on its walls, punctuated with shafts of light from three large round roof openings above. 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 and demonstrating a sensitive exploration of space and program.

Team Project Principal:Jane Williams, Project Director: Leny Lembo, Project Architect: Chris Barnes, Project Team: Joe Danese, Jonathan Duggan, Kim Humphries, Peter Richards, Jasmin Starcevich, Barbara Vourakis

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