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An abandoned church is revived in its rural farm setting to become a contemporary community meeting place. This adaptation of a derelict church seeks to embrace community with a diverse multi-functional gathering space, at the cross roads of cycle paths, gold mines and the local food bowl.
The challenge presented in this traditional building is how to maintain the relevance of the church in the current social context. Traditionally, a church is a place for community to gather; to celebrate and acknowledge the rituals in life.
The Pilgrimage seeks to reimagine the spaces for these rituals to take place in a community gathering space. Food becomes the new medium of exchange forming a connection between people, rather than religion. Spaces are created for this in the form of market gardens, community dinners and open air concerts bring vibrancy, community and connection to this place.
The existing church is a humble, one room, place of worship. It is to be extended to serve the current diverse local community of farmers, miners, families and cyclists. A kitchen produces take home meals for local families and miners, cyclists are serviced by a café, and two flexible dining halls accommodate groups for formal gatherings or business meetings. Open air concerts are set in an outdoor amphitheatre; which also acts as a marketplace and extends the seating area of the café and restaurant.
The Pilgrimage at Spring Terrace is intended to support local growers by utilising local produce in the restaurant and market place; the restaurant, café and shop provide jobs to people in the area; the addition of an outdoor amphitheatre extends the opportunity for celebration, gatherings and recreation.
The plan of the existing church is extended to reflect the symbol of the traditional gothic church. The existing church is to be retained and complemented with a new dining hall to the west. The entrance axis is extended east-west to become the place of arrival, extending through to connect to the western dining hall and amphitheatre; while the east end is to accommodate retail. A new kitchen and services, are housed in the southern extension, and a terrace to the north of the existing church provides a sunny place for cyclists to experience their daily ritual: coffee.
Raw materials are used as a reflection of the church and farming vernacular: brick, galvanised metal and timber. A series of steel portals provide new structure support the new construction. Recycled bricks are to be used on the ground plane and in the amphitheatre. As a contrast to the openness and light of the glazed areas, charred timber lines the ceilings, providing an evocative interior space. The selection of materials is intended to be hardwearing and low maintenance with visual and material references to the traditional farm buildings of the local region.
How is the project unique?
This project is unique as it is a speculative response to imagine what might be possible on an existing site in Orange, NSW. An existing church at the crossroads of farmers, cyclists, miners and families, peaked our interest in how to provide a collection of spaces embedded in the local community.