Willoughby Uniting Church22880x1800
Willoughby Uniting Church72880x1800
Willoughby Uniting Church62880x1800
Willoughby Uniting Church22880x1800
Willoughby Uniting Church72880x1800
Willoughby, NSW
Willoughby Uniting Church
Hanna Newman
Donnelley Constructions

2012 Willoughby Council Awards - Heritage Award

Willoughby Uniting Church

Inspiring a community, by embracing its heart


Combining thoughtful contemporary architecture, with meticulous heritage preservation, we created an innovative new church campus, placing a restored original chapel at its heart.

The church at North Willoughby has been serving the community for over 130 years. But as the community has grown, so have the demands placed on it. With a need to adapt to respond to the needs of today’s community, while preserving its significant heritage value, we developed an innovative design solution that was as much about celebrating the past, as it was about looking forward.

As iconic landmarks in a residential neighbourhood, the heritage-listed church and neighbouring manse would always be part of the plans for the site. Demolishing three redundant buildings that detracted from them presented the opportunity to consider what would emerge in their place, and how the landscape would fit together harmoniously.

Proudly combining old and new, we worked closely with Donnelley Constructions to create a large glass atrium, not just sympathetic to heritage features, but showcasing them.

Cutting into the roof of the existing chapel, we made it a prominent design feature at the entrance, creating a literal unity between the original church and the new two-story place of worship. We also ensured the scale of the building was in keeping with the surrounding residential community, seamlessly consolidating facilities and recessing supporting structures out of sight from the street.

Sustainability was front-and-centre of the project. To help make the construction process self-sufficient, a 240,000 litre tank was constructed under the building to store recycled water, along with a reuse tank to service all wet areas. The need for air conditioning in the finished building was reduced through glass louvres and effective cross-ventilation, while the atrium creates an abundance of natural light, both helping reduce the carbon footprint of the site.

With the existing chapel and manse a focus, we’ve created a strong link to the past and the site’s ecclesiastical heritage, while opening the door to a progressive future.

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Andrew Tripet
Andrew Tripet
Principal – Architecture | Sector Lead – Community