St Joseph's Church, Wellington
Highly Commended Origin Timber Design Awards 2005
Winner Dulux Colour Award 2005
St Joseph’s is a popular and progressive Catholic parish in Wellington's Mt Victoria. The parish’s vision for the church was that it would be simple and modest and that it would express something about a spiritual journey and about St Joseph the carpenter.
This new church is comprised of four distinct spaces: a full-immersion Baptistery, an elegantly tall Chapel space, a Gathering area for community-based functions, and a large Nave space seating up to 300 people. The traditional cruciform church plan is incorporated as a transparent entry and lobby, inspired by the Maori proverb Nga hau e wha and welcoming visitors from all four winds. The four quadrants wrap around this lobby space, creating an overall plan shaped like an abstract koru intertwined with a cross, suggestive of new life and spiritual growth interwoven with traditional symbolism.
Great attention has been paid to the quality of natural and artificial light in each of the worship spaces. A feature of the Chapel is a stained glass window by prominent New Zealand artist Shane Cotton. The exterior is made up of concrete panels with a moulded pattern representing the early Christian fish symbol, while the timber construction, expressive of tradition and craft, is appropriate to Joseph the carpenter.
The careful treatment of acoustic issues and the flexible layout of the church also mean that St Joseph’s plays a much greater part in the wider community, with the spaces being utilised for music, theatre and other community events. As both a place of worship and a shared community space, the new church is the heart of its parish.
Client: St Joseph's Parish