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The first stage of a series of new renovations to St. Mary's Cathedral has been the construction of the Cathedral Centre, a new 4 storey extension housing new Parish Offices and meeting, a Ground Floor lobby with amenities for informal gatherings after mass, a crypt to receive all the cathedral's archbishops, and a music performance space.

Our competition winning submission is a contemporary building yet one that respects and incorporates its cultural heritage. The design grouped all the required new functions into a tower, reminiscent of the great medieval Chapter Houses found as an integral part of many Gothic cathedrals. Chapter Houses were traditionally octagonal and housed the Assembly space where the governing body of the Church met.

The ‘crowning glory’ of Stage 1 is the new 90-seat performance space on the top floor. We as architects suggested to the Church elders that this space could be much more than a rehearsal space for the choir, and could be a performance area honouring the magnificent tradition of 2,000 years of musical patronage that the Catholic Church is heir to. The Church agreed, and funded the unique domed space that has recently had its first major music festival as part of MONA FOMA 2012.

One of the fundamental aims of the new works was to make the cathedral more relevant to the needs of the 21st century, and Stage 1 has succeeded beyond our imagining.


The Alexander North Award for Interior Architecture
Australian Institute of Architects (TAS)


Public Architecture Commendation
Australian Institute of Architects (TAS)




Peter Whyte

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