30 JUN 2016

The Wilson Home Chapel – Auckland / Takapuna

Back to church – Visiting a mid-century Haughey, Fox and Partners masterpiece.

Words and Photography by Dan Eagle

A grove of giant Pohotukawa trees in a peaceful garden perfectly frames the steeply pitched roof and bold geometric exterior of the Wilson Home Chapel.

This dramatic and intriguing building was built in 1965 in the wooded grounds of the Wilson Home for children with disabilities. The design features generous open spaces with an inspired transparency created by expansive parallel glass walls. What really stands out is the steeply pitched roof made from copper, it has developed a beautiful earthy patina over the years.

In 2009 this elegant chapel won the Enduring Architecture Award. It was described as "A humble and simple building”. With an “interesting juxtaposition of geometric forms that create a real variance of experience as you walk around and through the building". We agree.

Although Haughey Fox and Partners created some spectacular commercial buildings during the 1960s and 70s their legacy is relatively unrecognized today. This stunning chapel is a lasting tribute to their achievements.

The foyer is an elegant linear entrance with rimu doors.

A sheltered courtyard to the side of the building.

Giant Pohutakawa trees embrace the building.

Another view through the native trees.

The steeply pitched copper roof makes a grand statement.

Glass walls give the building a transparency and lightness of form.

A bold copper roof.

Crisp lines and thoughtful detailing.

Another view from the garden.

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