St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop Chapel wins architecture award.
St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop Chapel at ACU's Melbourne campus has won a national architecture award for its interior that was described as "simultaneously brutal and fragile".
ACU's chapel was announced as the winner of the Kevin Borland Masonry Award for interior design at the Think Brick Awards 2013 in Sydney on Thursday.
Established in 2005, the Think Brick Awards recognise design excellence and innovation in the architectural use of clay brick and concrete masonry across five categories: commercial, residential, urban design, masonry and recycling/re-use.
The Saint Mary of the Cross, MacKillop Chapel, was designed by Woods Bagot architects and is part of the six-star green-rated Daniel Mannix Building designed for ACU and opened last year. The chapel was built in honour of Australia's first saint, Saint Mary MacKillop, features eight-metre high crucifix and concrete arched columns rendered in white hard plaster. These columns provided the backdrop and structural frame for the chapel's intricate lattice of block work.
ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said, "It is a wonderful tribute to Catholic art in the University and the work of the craftsman who built the Chapel".
The feature lattice of hit-and-miss block work has been integrated carefully to allow natural light into the sacred space. The dappled rays admitted through the skin of block work evoke a serene, contemplative atmosphere. The lattice thus gives life to light, becoming a living entity within the chapel that contracts between the columns and block work – fragile, ever-changing, dominating or vanishing.
Additionally, the block work also acts as an acoustic attenuation for the chapel, with a layer of acoustic blanket hidden behind the intricate skin of block work.
The resultant play between the massiveness of the construction and the fineness and intricacy of the surface texture is an expression of lightness, creating a unique juxtaposition between the structure and the skin.