Chapel Street Centre: Dalman Architects

When Dalman Architects designed the Chapel Street Centre, the brief from the Christchurch North Methodist Parish was to express elements of who they were and their Christian mission to the community.

The original church was demolished due to damage sustained in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes, and provided the opportunity for Dalman Architects to evaluate the needs of a modern-day parish.

The result is a building that expresses the essence of being a church, open and transparent, inviting, practical and versatile, that serves as a worship space and communal centre that suits the needs of the church and the wider community.

The design both inside and out is a strong simple form that speaks of its function as a place of worship, providing a contemplative space.

The roofing cladding was an important element in the design of the building. The slate colour contrasts with the whiteness of the main church walls, and the roof appears to wrap up the sides and over the top of the spire.

The spire is integrated into the building as a whole. On one side the Sto finish extends upwards from the building base, and on two of the other sides the metal roof cladding extends upwards to form two of the spire walls.

The entrance of the church is distinguished from the rest of the building. Highly visible and strong in its expression, it invites the user into the transparent foyer that opens into to the backyard garden, allowing and encouraging its active use.

The open and transparent design is welcoming and allows passers-by to view the congregation and the activities inside the worship hall through the large 2m high windows surrounding each side.

The layout of the ground floor is organised around the central entry and foyer area that creates a transparent link to the backyard garden as well as a connection between the worship hall and the community block. It is designed as an open, inviting space that could be used as an entry, spill-out space and as a separate area for meetings and functions.

The high-level window spire located on the corner of the worship hall expresses its predominant function of worship space, and acknowledges the spire of the old church that was a local landmark. Timber panels, arranged in a geometric pattern in the ceiling, create an eye-catching feature in the worship hall.

Richard Chalklen, Parish Council Convenor says “Our congregation is excited by this stunning design as it has exceeded our expectations in so many ways.” 

Since opening, the church has been a hub of activity. It facilitates the church activities and is exceptionally popular with community groups who use the sports hall and meeting spaces. 

Through careful identification of the requirements and traditions of the Parish, Dalman Architects have designed a worship space and communal centre that fits the needs of the Christchurch North Methodist Parish and the wider community. 

The new church has not only met the Parish’s expectations. It is an award-winning design with accolades received at NZIA Canterbury Architecture Awards for Public Architecture and Property Council Awards for Special Purpose Property.


Dalman Architects

Dalman Architects’ vision is to create enriching spaces. The studio was established in 1997 and consists of a team of 24 registered architects, interior designers and architectural technicians who are based at their Christchurch and Auckland offices. 

They undertake projects throughout New Zealand and Asia-Pacific across a number of sectors including public buildings, hotels, hospitality and tourism, commercial, residential, education, and community facilities.

The studio believes people are shaped by the spaces they inhabit – which is achieved through innovative thinking, a responsive process and a focus on excellence.

They view architecture and interior design as both an honour and responsibility.

With 20 years behind them their focus has always been firmly fixed on client outcomes. They go above and beyond in how they work and what they create to enrich the way people live, work and play.

Dalman Architects are NZIA and New Zealand Green Building Council members. 


Dalman Architects


Telephone: 03 366 5445

Cladding and roofing:

Dimond Veedek 

Colour: Slate

Cladding and roofing manufacturer:


Cladding and roofing installer:

GH Roofing

Main Contractor: Arrow International Ltd

Photography: Stephen Goodenough