9 August 2013:St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop Chapel snares national 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.