The Former Chapel of St Joseph, consisting of a single storey brick building with exterior patio and ramp, and associated landscaping.
The Former Chapel of St Joseph was designed by architects Maggie Edmond and Peter Corrigan, and built between 1976-78. It was commissioned by Father Michael Burke, priest of the Holy Redeemer Parish in Surrey Hills, who was impressed with Edmond & Corrigan's work at the Church of the Resurrection in Keysborough, in particular the low cost of the project and the building's sense of humanity. The brief was for a light-filled space to be used for both worship and a community facility. The Former Chapel of St Joseph was designed for a predominantly homogenous community, consisting mainly of residents of the home for the elderly adjacent to the site. The modest scale and materials of the Former Chapel of St Joseph reflect the local vernacular architecture which consists largely of post-World War II housing.
The Former Chapel of St Joseph has been described by architectural historian Philip Goad as 'one of the pivotal buildings of the 1970s' which exemplified the beginnings of Postmodern architecture in Victoria. It won the 1983 Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) (Victorian Chapter) merit award for Outstanding Architecture in the New Buildings Category. In 2003 it won the RAIA (Victorian Chapter) inaugural 25 Year Architectural Award and Peter Corrigan won the RAIA National Gold Medal. Edmond & Corrigan have continued to develop their ideas and designs through a range of building types, and have been acknowledged by numerous awards for their contributions to the architectural field.
The design of the Former Chapel of St Joseph was influenced by changes and reforms following the Roman Catholic Second Vatican Council (1962-65). This era saw the emergence church designs which provided congregations with more intimate and community focused spaces for the exchange of faith. This is reflected in the scale and design of the Former Chapel of St Joseph. The Former Chapel of St Joseph is currently used as a space for the University of the Third Age and as a hall for community hire.
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is a single storey building of complex and three dimensional design. This includes curved walls which conceal a flat roof behind parapets and a post-supported horizontal flat-roofed canopy which extends along the side of the building walkway towards the rear carpark and partially covers a curved entrance ramp. The building is constructed of red and cream brick used in a pattern of contrasting strips and panels and has timber framed openings. A post-supported steel frame extends beyond the building on both the eastern and western sides.
The interior of the Former Chapel of St Joseph consists mainly of the central space (or nave), which includes a sanctuary platform situated opposite the curved western wall. Connected to the nave is the former narthex (or foyer) at the front of the building facing Strabane Avenue, shaped by curved walls. The building has ancillary spaces at the rear, including restrooms, storerooms and offices. An internal steel frame of tubular posts and columns painted in blue (a different shade from the original) extends across the ceiling and marks out the window bays in the nave.
This site is part of the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people.
How is it significant?
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is of architectural significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criteria for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.
Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria's history.
Why is it significant?
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is architecturally significant as one of the first examples of Postmodern architecture in Victoria. Completed in 1978, the Former Chapel of St Joseph is an early work of architects Edmond & Corrigan, and its small scale, materials and architectural style are reminiscent of local vernacular architecture. The Roman Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council injunction that, "... when churches are to be built, let great care be taken that they be suitable for the celebration of liturgical services and for the active participation of the faithful" is evident in the modest scale and interior layout of the Former Chapel of St Joseph, reflecting the shift of focus from the clergy to the congregation. The Former Chapel of St Joseph won the 1983 RAIA (Victorian Chapter) award for Outstanding Architecture in the New Buildings Category, and the RAIA (Victorian Chapter) 25 Year Architectural Award in 2003, demonstrating its architectural significance and its enduring architectural merit. [Criterion D]
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is historically significant for its connection with nationally and internationally recognised architects Maggie Edmond & Peter Corrigan (Edmond & Corrigan). One of the pivotal buildings associated with the beginning of Postmodern architecture in Victoria, the Former Chapel of St Joseph was at the centre of debate for its provocation of conventional architectural thinking. Peter Corrigan was awarded the RAIA National Gold Medal in 2003, acknowledging his contributions to architecture. [Criterion H]
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is also significant for the following reasons, but not at the State level:
The Former Chapel of St Joseph is of social significance for its use as a religious and community building. The building continues to be used in this capacity today, as a place for educational, social and religious purposes.