Grace Chapel

Project Overview

The Grace Chapel at Burgmann Anglican School was designed in conjunction with the Drama Centre to allow for modification into a larger multi-purpose complex at particular times of the year. Large swing doors on both these buildings open out into the central courtyard space between, changing the carrying capacity from 180 & 100 people respectively to approximately 700 people.

Re-interpretating the traditional symbols and elements of the church was  important to enable opportunities for children in the school to understand the basis and tradition of the Christian faith.

The new Chapel subtly follows this ancient practice as a reminder of the Resurrection faith and as a geographic index for the school and community.

Further liturgical practice lead to north side of the church representing the four gospels and the southern side representing the epistles.  Therefore the lectern (gospel side – north or left) was where “lessons” or “scriptures” were read; the right or south platform (pulpit) became the point at which the sermon was preached.

Sustainable Design

The design of the Chapel includes a number of sustainable design principles:

  • Collection of rainwater & ground water (250,000 litres) in a tank under the building for reuse in toilet flushing and irrigation
  • Low energy light fittings
  • Natural ventilation systems using high thermal mass and night purge
  • Natural daylighting
  • High levels of insulation
  • Hydronic slab heating and cooling: Solar hot water – water for the in-slab heating is heated in the roof space using hot air and solar radiation.  In summer the water is cooled using the water in the tank below the building
  • Overland drainage for surface water using swales and dry ponding
  • Recycled timber and solar panels
  • Controls for the night purge operation and heating system will be connected to computer controlled weather station within the IT hub within the Resource centre


The landscape design by Dorrough Britz & Associates combines the formal requirements of the main entry of the Chapel with the informal aspects of the bank to the large swale that bisects the site.  These informal aspects incorporating native grasses and reed beds combine with the ESD requirements for the containment of the overland drainage flows.

The formal aspects include rationalised pavement patterns, entry markers and brick steps providing a welcoming frontage to the new building.

Images: Ben Wrigley