All Souls Anglican Church
All Souls Anglican Church is a new 1045m² building to replace and unite St. Mary’s and St. Matthew’s churches, both damaged and demolished as a result of the devastating Canterbury earthquakes.
Located in the heart of Merivale, All Souls is situated on a prominent site with strong street presence along busy Papanui Road (arterial road), yet offers pockets of serenity around the corner on Church Lane (a residential cul-de-sac).
Anglican Diocese’s strategic objectives were ‘Faithful Stewardship’, ‘Christ Centred Mission’ and ‘Young Leaders’. In response, we developed a functional design response brief with ‘Sustainability’, ‘Ambition’ and ‘Relevance’ as themes.
Staying true to the functional brief, planning was respectful in retaining existing trees, secular aesthetics for flexibility and multi-functional halls for contribution to the local community.
The central chapel is a landmark that pulls the focus down Church Lane from Papanui Road. It is a pivotal link between external and internal through the welcoming foyer space. Within the chapel, the past is reflected with an array-display of original stained-glass windows recovered from St. Mary’s and St. Matthew’s church, pain staggeringly restored piece-by-piece to original condition.
The themes are carried on to the main worship space, where the floorplan accommodates flexible seating arrangements with removable platforms. Acoustic engineering was a challenge because ideal reverberation for music versus speech are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Customised perforations on ceilings and walls meticulously articulate well-balanced reverberation for various types of use. Acoustic plasterboard walls double as a resemblance to ‘the river of life’ in the shape of Canterbury’s Waimakariri braided river.
The halls were designed with the intention to be used by the church as well as the local community. Conflicting security and fire egress requirements for multi-user design was a challenge to overcome; however, it is now used regularly for activities such as yoga classes, markets and other church activities.
Opening day was a significant moment for the Merivale community. The new All Souls Anglican Church signifies resilience and unity through timeless contemporary architecture.