ROSALIE CHURCH REFURBISHMENT | PADDINGTON, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA | Status: Complete | Builder: Abri Homes | Photography: Cathy Schusler
Set within the quaint Rosalie ‘Village’, amidst a timber and tin context, is a modest and quirky brick church. Lacking the impressive dominance of its neighbouring Red Hill ecclesiastical monuments, the existing building was not without its own charm, sitting proud within its suburban context. The broad, brick-faced gable frontage commands a certain presence to the street; however, constructed with a familiar 1970’s slap-dashery, it was in desperate need of a face lift.
The juxtaposition of crisp, shiny white metal insertions against the weathered masonry form enhances the charm of the old church rather than trying to emulate it. Sharp-folded metal sun hoods reflect the opposing workers’ cottage window awnings, whilst the veiled cloister entry references the post-war screened balconies. The entry promenade sets the pedestrian experience between the strong brick buttresses and a delicate metal screen, on the threshold between old and new.
This project was committed to giving a tired old building a new beginning, rather than demolishing it. With a modest budget, this was a game of silk purses from sows’ ears. Leaving behind its religious heritage, the building is reinvented as a set of boutique city fringe offices. Whilst many of the Christian references have been removed, the memory of its former use is retained through the lofted ceilings, blue glass windows and the deliberate retention of buttress and gable.