St Patricks Church

The new church was proposed to replace an existing damaged church on the same site, which was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes, and provide a place of worship for over 200 parishioners. It was also proposed to work in with an existing Parish Centre on the site which was undamaged in the earthquakes and the Parish wished to retain.


  • Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Christchurch Catholic Diocese

Project Status

  • Completed


AWARD: NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards 2020 : Public Design

St. Patrick’s Church has been designed in a traditional cruciform plan arrangement consisting of Sanctuary, Nave, Sacristy, Narthex, Reconciliation, Transept and Store spaces. Each space is significant to the liturgy and informs the hierarchy and spatial arrangement of the church. Materials have been selected to provide resilience to the structure but also draw on the enduring beauty of natural finishes. For this purpose, the super structure is formed using laminate timbers. The vaulted ceiling created gives the Nave a sense of vertical scale that reinforces the transcendence of the space.

Externally, the walls are grounded with precast panels to a dado height approximately 1.8m above ground where the material transitions to vertical cedar shiplap boarding prior to meeting the roof interface. This is a design strategy to provide the Parish privacy whilst also providing a visible reminder of structural permanence.

The material transition to cedar is again a design tactic to soften the façade of the building and provide a warm quality to the external appearance. The elevation is further softened by penetration of vertical glazing elements that flood the interior spaces with natural light. Significant time was spent in the later design stages on the key features such as the artificial lighting and audio visual system. The integration of existing joinery played a big part in the design, such as the existing pews and the altar which were reused and refurbished in keeping with the new church.