2023 Richard Roach Jewell Award for Enduring Architecture
The Wollaston Theological College Chapel was awarded the Enduring Architecture Award by the Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter. The Revd Dr Raewynne J. Whiteley, Warden of Wollaston Theological College was present with the architect’s wife and daughter to accept the award.
Photography: Emma Van Dordrecht – F22 Photography
From the 2023 Awards Book, WA Chapter Architecture Awards
Richard Roach Jewell Award for Enduring Architecture
Wollaston College Chapel
Original Architect: Julius Elischer
The Wollaston College Chapel, designed by the Hungarian-born Perth architect Julius Elischer, is a pre-eminent example of enduring architecture. Of outstanding merit, this building continues to meet its original brief and due to its meticulous detailing, it appears as fresh today as the day it was consecrated in April 1965 by Michael Ramsey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury.
Influenced by Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Notre-Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, the stark white interior of the Chapel is punctuated by deep-set windows of different coloured glass. Its design was a bold departure from traditional church buildings and reflects the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s.
The architect’s vision was of a ‘tent of meeting’. There is no set place for the altar or any furniture, to enable it to be configured in multiple ways. The concave ceiling appears to ‘float’ above the building, owing to clear glass panels between the tops of the thick concrete walls and the roof itself. Light ‘flickers’ through the coloured glass and through the ‘clerestory’, suggesting the movement of light through canvas walls and under a canvas roof.
The Jury considers the Wollaston College Chapel to be a worthy recipient of the 2023 Richard Roach Jewell Award for Enduring Architecture.