This early stage Concept Design represents a bold step forward by the community at the Coptic Orthodox Church of St Mark & St George. The original church buildings were built some twenty years ago and significant community growth in that time has meant that the current infrastructure no longer meets their needs. This concept seeks to provide robust facilities to meet the needs of current and future generations of the community.
The design is envisaged as a complex of three buildings, connected via covered walkways and balconies, with an open space at the center of the complex. Breaking the program apart in this way gives the community the option of staging the build as funds become available, with the different wings able to be built independently without affecting functionality.
On the ground floor a Community Hall, Library and Kitchen open onto a large landscaped northern forecourt; Primary Sunday School Classrooms and amenities can be accessed from the central courtyard and the carpark to the south.
The first floor accommodates the Secondary Sunday School classrooms, a Sports/Games Hall, a Youth room, a roof top garden and additional amenities.
The main approach and entry to the building is from the north. The buildings open onto a large north facing forecourt, with the Community Hall, Library and Kitchen directly accessible from this outdoor space. The forecourt is landscaped to provide space for the community to congregate before and after events or services; it is common to pick up a meal from the Kitchen after Church services and share it together in the Hall or surrounding areas.
The main points of entry into the building are delineated with arches, and in addition to this motif, the monolithic style provides an evocative visual reference familiar to the community.
Around the perimeter of the buildings run a series of tall colonnades, with a regular rhythm of masonry piers and beams. These deep colonnades provide sheltered access points and routes of travel around the complex; they are also a shading device, protecting the interior spaces from harsh sun and weather at critical times.
A courtyard is located at the heart of the complex; routes of travel from the surrounding rooms intersect in an open air foyer, creating a comfortable space for people to spill out onto after events or classes.