When this 1860s inner-Melbourne church was badly damaged by fire in 2014, ARM restored it. We worked with the parish community to re-imagine it for the 21st Century.
On the night of the 2014 fire, firefighters reported that flames were billowing from the windows of the heritage building. The interior and roof were terribly burned.
We returned the floor, walls and ceiling to their former glory, but our work went much further than restoration.
St Jude’s Anglican Church in Carlton is Howard Raggatt’s parish church.
In the wake of the fire, St Jude’s held workshops to engage their congregation on how the building could serve the aspirations and requirements of a modern church. This was an opportunity for Howard and his church community to reimagine how it would be used for many years to come.
The 150-year-old building was originally designed by innovative practice Reed & Barnes and was renovated several times so the site is richly layered with the fabric of history. Our work is a contemporary step in this evolution.
We added a new atrium structure between the existing heritage church and the hall buildings. It is much-needed space for the expanding church, and it addresses accessibility standards that didn’t exist when it was built by linking the buildings across multiple levels.
By reorienting the main nave, we were able to create a dramatic new entrance from Keppel Street that creates a broad channel from nave to street. A glazed façade and roof offer a clear, uninterrupted view to the nave entry, reflecting the Church’s commitment to openness and inclusion.
We added modern amenities and multi-functional spaces for a variety of events. They maintain the traditional functions of the church and enhance its ability to meet the diverse needs of its congregation into the future.
The traditional tea-and-biscuits spread after church isn’t very Carlton. So St Jude’s now serves coffee, cake and a view to cosmopolitan Lygon Street.
Above our new café, a triangular steel canopy reaches out like an arrow, linking the heritage of the church with the contemporary urban landscape beyond.
The canopy references Ron Robertson-Swann’s controversial yellow sculpture Vault (1978), which features in several of ARM’s projects including the Storey Hall redevelopment. The triangular geometry of the form aligns with the Gothic style of the original church but, for heritage reasons, it’s rust-coloured steel rather than yellow.
“Vault has become a kind of obsession for me…it represents a conservative rejection of the new in favour of the status quo.”
Outside, we revived a seldom-used courtyard, making it accessible via the education centre. From this courtyard a set of amphitheatre-like steps ascends to the café and an outdoor terrace and.
At street level, these blur the boundary between private and public space in a welcoming gesture.