School chapel gives nod to the past as it looks to the future

The St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel has been thoughtfully resurrected, following the Canterbury earthquakes, to embody the values, history, traditions and future aspirations of the College.

The chapel was recognised as the National Category Winner of the Construction Marketing Services Education Award at the 2017 Commercial Project Awards. 

The original chapel had to be pulled down after it was extensively damaged by the earthquakes. However, many architectural treasures were salvaged and elements from the old building were incorporated into the new build.

Constructed by Armitage Williams, the new chapel includes the bell, gargoyles, Oamaru stone, oak doors, lead lights plus 1,000 bricks from the original chapel.

As soon as they entered through the main door of the finely detailed build, the judges said they were struck with a sense that it is a special place, representing both the history and aspirations of the College.

“There’s a beautiful transition between the two elements. If you stand at the rear it looks old, if you go to the front it looks modern and brand new,” says Craig Greene, Head Project Manager for Armitage Williams. 
“Everybody who walks in the building’s first word is ‘wow!’ And that’s exactly what we wanted.”

The chapel’s layout is a brave departure from traditional axial geometry.
“The structure is complex. Two towers support the 220-tonne steel roof, which features vaulted ceilings and cantilevered sections which are anchored back to central points,” says Craig. 
“The acoustics are just amazing. There was some acapella singing at the opening event – the students sang their hearts out and the hairs at the back of my head stood up – it was awesome.”

Craig Greene praises the massive effort put in by his team of tradesmen, the subcontractors, architects, Architectus Christchurch/Auckland, engineers Holmes Consulting and St Andrew’s College who put their faith in them.
“It was hugely rewarding, it was a massive team effort and I was personally delighted with the result. The school and wider community suffered after the earthquakes, so it was good to put something worthwhile back in which really made a difference,” says Craig. 
“The end result was superb and to win the award was the icing on the cake for everybody’s hard work.”

Armitage Williams’ partnership with the school continues. “We’ve not moved away from St Andrews and have now completed another five projects including a 27metre bridge which was made off site in Timaru,” says Craig.
The company have been Registered Master Builders for more than 30 years and are entering another project in this year’s Commercial Project Awards.
“From a company perspective we’re humble and we go on our name and the quality of our work, 60-70 percent of our work is repeat work,” says Craig.
The awards are a fantastic communications tool for us - they’re a great way to show-case the quality of what we do.” 

The New Zealand Commercial Project Awards are owned by Registered Master Builders Association and sponsored by PlaceMakers, Altus, GIB, Allied Concrete, Construction Marketing Services and CARTERS.