St Augustine’s Neutral Bay Completion

Engaged as their architects in 2012, we are ecstatic with the redeveloped St Augustine’s Neutral Bay which is now nearing completion. More importantly however, our clients are excited by the result.

St Augustine’s Neutral Bay will soon celebrate the official opening of their newly redeveloped Church following a nearly 3 year process from initial engagement of Stanton Dahl Architects to completion of the works. The redevelopment will provide a new safe and welcoming entry and circulation hub that connected the existing two storey church with the existing church hall.

In the words of one of their parishioners who recently toured the nearly completed works, the result is “a well thought of, clever architectural design that enable us to make the best use of what we had, not just the construction cost of a property redevelopment. For those who had doubts before I can give you my assurance, this is worth every single penny / cents of it.”

While we are delighted with the built result, greater satisfaction is received in knowing that our clients and the end user have had their expectations surpassed.

For those who are interested, below is a copy of the full article written by the parishioner quoted above.

“On 20 March 2015 three lucky church members won the draw to have a private viewing of the near-to-finish new church building. We were told beforehand to consider the following 3 questions. I am now sharing with you my observations and reflections after this privileged private viewing.

What one thing that strikes me most… It is BIG. For those who are not too sure about what the new structure is about, let me quickly recap. We built a connecting structure (a ‘foyer’) to link the old school hall with the church building. In addition, the high ceiling of the school hall enabled us to put an extra storey in – that is where the meeting rooms for various kid church groups and church office will be.

Now back to my story. Having been coming to St Augustine since 2006, I thought I knew the church well: school hall; the church building; the whole lot. I was wrong. Once you walked into the new building, it is as if you walked into a different world.

I was totally surprised that the additional rooms are spacious (some with self-contained storage rooms). They are all connected and convertible into bigger or smaller rooms. Yes, connected: exactly our primary objective in undertaking this BTK project – this new building is to enhance building relationships with our Lord, and with each other. Now we have the space to accommodate our growing kids’ church population, and it is now possible to tailor more suitable age groups to teach them the scripture on Sundays. Our church ministry team can now work together in the same premises and cut down on time and effort wasted on logistic coordination. BTK objective no 2 and no 3 ticked.

I simply do not know where that additional space came from, despite it is still exactly the same lot size, the outside is still our unassuming old school hall that I am so familiar with. We did not put any additional extension in – that could only be explained by one reason – previously we have not made good use of the available space and after this make-over we can now enjoy the full potential of the existing facility.

Friends, this is what we paid for, a well thought of, clever architectural design that enable us to make the best use of what we had, not just the construction cost of a property redevelopment. For those who had doubts before I can give you my assurance, this is worth every single penny / cents of it. We are not extravagant in spending $2.4M. Any middle ground alternative design, no doubt cheaper, will not be able to deliver the results we now have.

What opportunities I saw… Where should I begin? The foyer structure has a 2-storey+ high ceiling with floor to ceiling glass panel, creating a serene environment which is very inviting for people to handout material in natural lights. There are now many ‘pockets’ of space where church members can hangout before or after church services, no matter what the weather is like outside, no matter whether you are physically mobile or not, as one can move around in wheel chairs easily. This is definitely a place that we will not hesitate to invite those you care for to hear about the Gospel.

There new kitchens, additional toilets and those well thought of ‘transformable’ meeting rooms are definitely built with a vision to meet future development needs. I can guarantee you all that the new church building is capable to handle further church growth for at least the next 30 years. That is within my expected life span. Come back to tell me if I am wrong today.

What excites me most… God is with us all along the way. It is only with the benefit of hind sight that I realised the scale of change and how big this project is – despite I have looked at the architectural design and discussed about possible issues so many times in Parish Council meetings. Despite our best endeavours to manage risks, when we began it was pretty much a leap in faith. We now have a fixed date to move back to our church on 3rd of May. This is only about a month’s delay (compared to the initial plan) and WITHIN budget, without any major hiccups. This is almost unheard of (if you have followed TV program like Grand Designs, you know what I mean).

I can only conclude that we have done the right thing. God, who sees through human hearts no matter what excuses or pretends we try to put up, is blessing us throughout the project. There is nothing that excites me more than knowing we have done something right in His