Combined Churches

When two churches in Waiuku realised they were going to have to combine forces to survive, they faced a dilemma: which of the two church buildings should be the base for the new congregation. While the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations in the town South of Auckland were too small to justify having their own church, together they were too large for either of the existing buildings. So, the newly formed Waiuku & Districts Combined Churches group made the decision to expand and refurbish St Andrews Church, the A-frame Presbyterian church in the main street of Waiuku. Jasmax was commissioned to design a building that would not only serve the congregation but also act as a central meeting place for the wider community. This meant the new building would need more rooms and improved facilities. The original A-frame, built in 1964, had some drawbacks – among them that it was dark inside and the interior and exterior were dated. Also, because the building lacked insulation, the noise of any wild weather outside drowned out the service. From a design point of view, it would have been easier to knock down the building and start again but the decision was made to integrate the A-frame in a new design. The reasoning was that the existing church was a familiar part of the streetscape and that it would have been more costly to build an equally imposing structure than to adapt the A-frame. Hamish Boyd, the Jasmax director in charge of the project, says, “Significant alterations are often a challenge and the A-frame shape isn’t the easiest to work with but it’s nice to keep the connection with the history of the site.” The Jasmax team resolved the design challenge by intersecting the A-frame at mid-height with a long, low second structure on the northern side that meets the A and continues out, to a lesser extent, on the southern side. A slight incline in the roofline of the new building was introduced to soften the meeting point with the tall triangular shape of the existing structure. The original building was stripped down to the frame, insulation went in, the foundations were strengthened and the buttresses replaced with steel beams. The original standing seam roofing was renewed using COLORSTEEL® longrun roofing ZINCALUME® steel and, in keeping with the strong lines of that material, the addition was clad in corrugated ZINCALUME®. The sides of the A-frame were opened up to the new wings on either side, and the body of the church was rotated 90 degrees to face the new stage area created by the south end of the addition. Glass doors behind the congregation seating open into the conference space that can be divided into smaller areas if necessary. The northern addition, which also houses two lounges, an office, meeting rooms, kitchen and bathrooms, provides a solution to one of the congregations major concerns. As Hamish Boyd explains, “One of the things they said to us was that once the services were finished, people tended to drift off and go home so they wanted a space where they could have a cup of tea and a chat after the service.” The building’s rimu interior lining was given a new lease of life, and the sections cut out to accommodate the new structure were used on the walls of the addition. A timber panel echoing the lining hangs from the ceiling of the A-frame at the height of the addition and has stage lights and a projector suspended from it. The glazing employed in the addition is a quirky, contemporary take on stained glass. Instead of using expensive coloured glass, Jasmax went for translucent stick-on panels in vivid shades, interspersed with clear panes of glass. This achieves a modern look and makes the church seem more open and inviting to the public. In the upper part of the A, the original blue and pink stained glass remains but now sits behind an open vertical timber screen that gives the building a contemporary street frontage and helps to solve the problem of sometimes-blinding morning sun pouring into the building. What was St Andrews Church reopened on April 1 2006 as St Andrews Centre and it wasn’t just the congregation that was thrilled – the New Zealand Institute of Architects also liked what it saw. So much so, that the building won a 2006 NZIA Local Award in the Community & Cultural category. The judging panel said “This refurbishment and extension of a 1960s A-frame church focuses around the need to open the facility to the community and to create a building which is transparent and inviting to the public. The use of wrapping as a conceptual and sculptural/formal language is compositionally sympathetic to the existing structure, with an interesting juxtaposition of colour in glass against contemporary timber and white surfaces.” The redevelopment of what was a tired A-frame structure has not only given the amalgamated congregation a more flexible and modern church that reaches out to its community, but has also given Waiuku a landmark building.

Jasmax One of New Zealand’s leading architectural practices, Jasmax has more than 180 people working in Auckland and Wellington, with specialist teams in the areas of interior design, landscape, education, transport and health. Over the past four decades Jasmax has specialised in the design and development of public facilities, with the aim of creating engaging and attractive environments. Projects include New Zealand’s largest public museum, Te Papa, the development of Britomart, Auckland’s transport hub, as well as the refurbishment of the Auckland Town Hall and Auckland’s Civic Theatre. Jasmax believes that architecture has the power to stir the spirit while also meeting more practical everyday needs. The company applies the experience and skill of its team to create innovative and inspirational buildings and landscapes. Client: Waiuku & Districts Combined Churches. Architect: Jasmax . Hamish Boyd – Director in Charge. Jeremy Bennett – Project Architect. Project Team David Mahon, Sandeep Ram, Matt Robinson. Telephone: 09 366 9626. Website: Main contractor: Pukekohe Builders. Telephone 09-238 7758. Services engineers: Lincolne Scott. Telephone 307 7196. Structural and civil engineers: HLK Jacob. Telephone 09 377 5622. Structural steel: Harman Engineering Roofing Installer: Franklin Long Roofing. Telephone 09 238 9249. Profile: Styleline. Roof: COLORSTEEL® Titania Photography: Vincent Kar.