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SAINT PETER'S CATHOLIC CHURCH

SAINT PETER'S CATHOLIC CHURCH


SAINT PETER'S CATHOLIC CHURCH BENTLEIGH EAST


https://stpeter sparishvic.blog spot.com.au/ ABPL90020 SEMESTER 01, 2018 UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE MEASURED DRAWING & DIGITAL HERITAGE

VISHAL MANDALIYA STUDENT NO. 881780

RUNISHA LIKHI STUDENT NO. 881795

KAREN DIONISIO-SEE STUDENT NO. 613168

JIWOO ELICIA EOM STUDENT NO. 830690


CONTENT 01 History of St Peter's Catholic Church 02 Appendix A Field Notes 03 Appendix B Photography 04 Appendix C 360 VR photo 05 Appendix D Watercolour 06 Appendix E Drawings


01 HISTORY OF ST PETER’S CATHOLIC CHURCH


St Peter’s Parish, East Bentleigh During the opening of the new Parish Church in 1974, a revised symbol contemplated the concept of union or togetherness and was chosen to represent St. Peter’s in East Bentleigh. The original artwork, drawn by Parishioner Mr. John Guiney represents a central light, spreading to a circular assembly of people with different shades ranging from white through to grey through to black to show nationality. The concept translates directly to “God is the light that brings all his children together”. (Father Michael, 2018)1

Pass Over Prayer As the pass over ceremony between the old and new church convened, a prayer was taken from W.T. Dobson’s “The Living Harvest” as a foundation stone for the parish. “We have built our homes, and now we build our church where crops once flourished. For over one hundred years the earth of our neighbourhood has been made rich and fertile by the pioneer market gardeners that brought to this new land their faith, and their hope for a new and better life. Their crops flourished and their prayer’s for good seasons and bountiful harvests were heard.

Emblem

Now, in this community of our parish, the produce of the earth has given way to a new harvest. We build this church on land cleared from the bush, made rich and fertile by those who have gone before. We fix the bricks and mortar upon the soil and raise the cross toward heaven, in prayerful hope that the harvest that will come for us, our children and those who will follow, will be blessed and joyously bountiful.”2

1. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018 2. The Living Harvest : A History of St. Peter's parish, W.T Dobson, 1974


Comparing Old to New The architects’ McCarthy and Collings designed the new church building. In comparison with the old St. Peter’s church, the new signifies “a dedication” by placing four fresh crosses with conceptual meaning within the interior walls to strengthen the atmospheric quality. These crosses symbolise three things. Where, in allocation of the dedications, representations depict each side of the cross as a conceptual description. The meaning behind them is as follows: • • • •

The four compass points of the Earth i.e. North, South, East and West. The four sermon readers of the church. The four seasons of the year The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Virgin mother3

From the allocation of these crosses, a light has been kept at each station in the form of candles to express attention to the four readers who will be using these spaces to preach to show their prominence in transferring scriptural knowledge to the occupants. The design of the cross, resembles the same symbol at the altar’s foot, The Crusaders Cross; the famous emblem sewn into the knight’s armoured tunics during the battle for the “Holy Land” in the 11th and 13th centuries.

letter to archbishop

In comparison with the two Melbournian parishes Blackburn and Ormond, which have a more traditional gothic revival internal theme, the attending nationality numbers are quite high, starting at 33 nations during the new parish opening, progressively increasing to 45 with the help of the St. Peter’s primary school. This is due to the design providing more importance for community and users rather than spiritual traditional aspects. Rather than incorporating seating directed to the naïve with a rectilinear concept, the direction of focus is towards the altar. This doesn’t follow dominion of superiority and inferiority as all attention is equally focused to the vocal space. Thus everyone can enjoy the teachings of the church, whereas in Gothic revival designs, the lengthy naïve and orientation of seating causes people at the back to be less involved with the activities of the church.

3. A Growing Harvest, St Peter’s Parish East Bentley, Bernie O’Brian, 1976


Community Identity As a home to all, both St. Peters parish and primary school have been grounds for acceptance not only to the neighbouring community, but travellers, immigrants and people of faith as well. As a home to all, both St. Peters parish and primary school have been grounds for acceptance not only to the neighbouring community, but travellers, immigrants and people of faith as well. Archbishop T. F. Little even appeared in the late 70s to celebrate the growth and warming ambiance that had made this particular parish a “happy family of God”. Nevertheless, after the opening of the new, a true St. Peter’s principal request required the “daughters” of the Sacred Heart, (an establishment of nuns) to seek refuge in other areas of Melbourne. An example is Ballarat Multicultural Centre, which has a history of being one of the Sacred Heart foundation nunneries until more recent times. Drawings of gothic revival plans with long naïve. : Saint Martin floor plan and elevation, James Gibbs, A Book of Architecture (1728)

As a parish promoting a community theme, identity needed to be successfully catered to the occupiers of the space to envisage a strong emotional relationship alongside the experience.

ground floor plan Peter’s Parish, Parish, East VIC StStPeter’s EastBentleigh, Bentleigh, VIC

letter to archbishop


letter to archbishop

letter to archbishop


Foundations and Historical Analysis Background The old parish was originally allocated as Brighton Parish in 1853 and later included in St. Paul’s, Bentleigh in 1928. As the first church in the area, “the underlying structure was timber housing a wooden school and church hall to follow the cheapest style of build at the time. In 1903 the wooden structure was replaced by masonry and the site was celebrated as the first Mass holding in Eastern Bentleigh.” (Father Michael 2018) 4 The community involved an Irish society who developed market gardens reaching pioneer status as the original pilgrims. One of the comprising member’s James Joseph Kennedy, grandson of the famous Tipperary James Kennedy wrote a letter to the archbishop of Melbourne in 1919 to urge the establishment of county parish. Mass was held regularly after the written letter and benefited the area greatly in development as institution to parish position was enrolled in 1955. “The Living Harvest”, written by parishioner William Dobson in 1974 for the opening of the new church strongly influenced my understanding of the history and the original settlers. Patrick Niall, the first parish resident priest, has an interesting journey to match the charming vignette of the rural background. Following the “Brighton-St. Kilda” mission, he embraced districts south of Yarra and then branched out from South Melbourne to Portsea and Gippsland, which had a more Aboriginal local community. During his travels, he stumbled upon a colony of market gardeners that had fled Ireland during the famine period of the 1850’s. This was known as Bentleigh where Hanrahan, Carroll, Shanahan, Gould and Howes were the founding Catholic families and had a strong influence with community support. The underlying connecting factor at the time was religion; St. James’ parish Elsternwick was the head of the chain, branching into different county parishes and prior to the establishment of St. Peter’s Bentleigh, growth of the organisation had been slow according to W. T. Dobson. In “The Living Harvest”, Dobson wrote, “From the 40 Irish pioneer families of Bentleigh and East Bentleigh of the early 1850s, the Catholic population had remained about a total of 150 until the 1920’s, with only slight increases till 1950.”

TOP The old (right) and the new (left) parish today BOTTOM The new Parish Church in 1974

4. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018


As the establishment of parish standard was imminent, an extraordinary growth, unprecedented, gripped the land of Bentleigh. Market gardens turned into urban subdivisions and Moorabin, which Bentleigh is a part of became the fastest growing urban area in Australia. As a distinguishing factor, houses in the East Bentleigh parish increased in price by triple their initial amount. Since education was of primal importance, the school was approached as building grounds before the erection of the new church. Rough-hewn timber was the structure, which was bricked up in 1903. The opening of the school received a gracious income of people and ideas from the community shaped the design for the new church.5

Revitalisation and Enterprise Under the hand of priest Fr. Coakley, the parish was revitalised, where he developed the plan for the new church working tirelessly with architects’ McCarthy and Collings until his death in 1973. Opened and blessed by Archbishop Little, the new St. Peter’s church was revealed in 1974. Just after a year of inception, 250,000 persons had passed through St. Peter’s to pray, reflect, worship, marry and bury. With the growing appreciation of the church, a Family Planning Centre was established in 1974 devised by the Council, which held lectures and educational talks within the church. As a busy enterprise, records show that nine masses were being celebrated each weekend alongside lectures. 6 In 1976, three new methods of confession were introduced, as quoted from the Parish bulletin: • • •

Rite of reconciliation of individual penitents. Rite of reconciliation of several penitents Rite of reconciliation of penitents with general confession and absolution.

The introduction of Lay Ministers for Communion who distributed Holy Communion left it to the Liturgy Committee to promote the whole order. However religion was not the only use for the new space. The program included events, fundraisers, music sessions and public talks. 7

5. The Living Harvest : A History of St. Peter's parish, W.T Dobson, 1974 6. A Growing Harvest, St Peter’s Parish East Bentley, Bernie O’Brian, 1976 7. Parish bulletin, Newsletter Father Tim O’Sullivan 1976


The Dedication of a Church The Christian community hold such an event as quite important. It involves more than just setting a building aside for sacred events as the organisers are an extension of the church and more so the community around them.

The Decision to Raise the Altar The altar; being of primal importance within the church, not only to increase spiritual awareness and atmosphere but also enhance the learning experience needed a visible and obvious placement in relation to the rest of the church apart from its prominence in plan and light quality. Placed on the same level as the seating didn’t do any favours for the function. The reason being, sight of the priest reciting the Eucharistic prayer was hindered, and after a lengthy discussion within the council, the favour was in a more elevated altar. The architect’s decision commanded another step to be added to the present two steps and the circular discs be removed from under the lectern and chair. The cost of the project was 2500 dollars. 8

The ceremony consists of four parts: • • • •

Celebration of introductory rites – Ritual moments and thematic development. Proclamation and reception of God’s work. Discussion of some typical rites for the dedication of a common church to the liturgical tradition of both East and West. The culmination point of the rites.

Introductory rights as Biblical tradition • a. b. c. d.

Entrance into the church. Convocation People on a journey Station at the threshold of the church Opening of the Door

• a. b.

Blessing and Sprinking of Water. Historical data The general orientation of the new right

The church glorifies the Father and the Lamb in the Spirit9

8. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018 9. A Growing Harvest, St Peter’s Parish East Bentley, Bernie O’Brian, 1976


Selection of Architect As the community was of high priority, to create both an integrated and an evocative design required a local touch and knowledge. The first Parish priest approached McCarthy and Collings for the job. Ideas from the community, input of scriptural knowledge from the clergy and intuitive knowledge from the architects and artists were combined to produce an attractive feature for East Bentleigh.

Plan and Layout Shape of the plan is a manipulated square whereby an underlying cross is tilted in a North-East setting, used as a base layer to signify circulation and flow through the church, the naïve leading to the altar. Joining the edges of the cross creates the spaces as the preaching area towards the north and program or seating towards the south. Upon the foot of the cross the seating ends angled towards the altar, which is clearly the main attention. Due to the site being on an uneven surface, a granite infill is used as the main platform while accessed by stairs or ramp. The notion of contemporary churches such as this one following a fan shaped, post Vatican Council 2 design raises the argument of “not looking much like a church”. 10 This is because they don’t particularly carry the traditional aspects seen in Byzantine, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Victorian, Queen Anne, Georgian or any other Historic churches which are normally used as precedent.11 However, as explored, these designs signify more of community ideals and settings. Community worship more suited to the needs and values of the particular people occupying the area are reflected upon to mould the church and function. The core needs of church designs through the ages may not have changed, as worship is the most important factor but the use has. Lets take St. Peter’s as an example, although the church is a place of worship and reflection which is evident in all churches that come before, it is also a place of communion and togetherness as a social hub. Due to technological advancements and a more spiritually guided design, this particular church can serve as both a religious learning ground as well as a social platform for spreading religion and giving community union. Wise interpreters such as the clergy and the right expressions communicated by the architects and artists contemplate the symbolic conceptual notions of the church, which are not as blatant as in past designs and styles which use statues and ornaments strongly. The stripping of this extravagant ornamentation and high balustrades that caused soaring heights seen in Gothic architecture were now put in the perspective of a more human scale, to reduce cost and cater for insulation. Besides, the craftsmanship used in traditional church architecture was hard to come by past the 1950’s, as builders were more practiced in contemporary knowledge.

10. Dr. Banhan, 1962 11. Father Michael Scott, Church Architecture for Contemporary Human Needs


The goal of these contemporary designs is to provide a space where an individual could search for knowledge, introspect and feel complete comfort, which revival styles didn’t fully grasp. More of a threshold of capturing traditional roles by expressing true meaning by only displaying the most important aspects and narratives of the religion and setting to provide an intimate relationship to the congregation it has been built for. “A house for a family program and community.” 12 To fortify this concept and strengthen the focus on the altar, the roof is the distinguishing factor of this church. Two striking roof plains intersect, a 30o angled roof takes up the dominant portion on the south plan while a 45o roof covers the altar and north part of the church. The converging point is divided by clerestory windows, which let in light through the intersection gap seen on the section view. This illuminates the altar and further distinguishes it as the major attraction of the church. Lets look at why churches today are so different. As expressed the underlying needs are quite important which all churches posses, however what other needs are necessary in devising a church for community? It can be said that some traditional needs can be omitted, as today’s ideals and relationship with the higher power are not the same as in the past. Thus, the design should cater for all generations to enable a strong relationship with the occupants and the space. Using liturgical, functional and emotional aspects can develop this affinity between the people using the space and the message it conveys. 13 St. Peter’s following a contemporary theme was built on the grounds of: Liturgical Safety and Acceptance, privacy and repentance, strength and quality (effect on the land as importance) Functional Expression of light and colour (through artistry on glazing) Simplicity and honest use of material denominating useless aspects seen in traditional architecture such as ornamentation Emotions Clarity, displaying only the prominent factors, warm atmosphere expressed in plan and roof setting and lastly security; as we live in an age of toughness a space where harm is not an issue should be acted upon. 14 12. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018 13. Father Michael Scott, Church Architecture for Contemporary Human Needs 1962 14. Father Michael Scott, Church Architecture for Contemporary Human Needs 1962


Significant Materials and Construction In terms of construction, a masonry base acts as the load bearing walls for a timber-framed roof. The use of wood around as details and also functional materials follows the theme of the surrounding site while giving a more natural feel to the building. McCarthy and Collings use these materials within other church designs such as St Joseph’s, Black Rock as the nature has a high affinity for the environment while also giving a technical rigidity and resilience. Nevertheless, since this was a church designed prior to St. Peter’s, the plan and setup is also different. The plan is rectangular with the same functional layout, having the seating angled towards the altar. The roof though is a normal pitched roof at 15o intersecting at the same height with no light qualities.15

Important Details As the Patron saint, St. Peter stands over the main entrance looking down on all the children of worship. Due to such a high prominence, priest Mc‘ Enna wanted a durable material to withstand weather conditions as he catered for expansion on whether the statue would be placed outside in future. Italian terracotta was acquired to make this a possibility as the main compositional element.

The Tree of Life The teachers of the original parish used ancient symbols to increase spiritual awareness within the church. The Tree of Life had three messages. Mankind sinned by taking fruit from a tree, man burned wood to survive and lastly Christ lay down his life on wood from a tree. The tree of life is to show that, at the beginning there was a symbol for failure yet mankind survived. On the other hand, how Christ was condemned on the cross as another failure however, he took upon the world of sin and sacrificed himself as the Son of God to allow life on earth. The uneven struts that make up the shape have the purpose of being an illustration of life’s highs and lows. The detailed realistic figure of Jesus was specifically chosen to depict His immense suffering and His death. In concept the materials show Jesus Christ as wood from a tree. 15. Reverend John Dipuche, 2018


The Altar Stone granite originates from near Castlemaine and is the material used to compose the altar. “Fr. Heriot designed it so that the uneven base resembles a huge mechanical arm pushing the granite up out of the ground” is the current parish priest Father Michael’s insight.16 He goes on to say in the interview, “The earth produces life and the altar is something the earth has given and human hands have made.” 17

Mosaic Glass Panels The elevations showcase rectangular, modular (same size and shape) glass windows that were designed by Claude Zimmer with his art as a conceptual narrative in 1976. To follow the modern, contemporary style of the church, the windows have been painted using an abstract style. The underlying story expresses the sorrow and grief of Jesus, where there’s always a room for forgiveness and retribution. The design of artworks and materials were a custom manufacture and production, drawing from and resourcing within the Australian community. Designer Claude Zimmer painted beautiful detailed abstracted depictions of Biblical stories on the elevation glass windows using bright colours to edit light quality and ambiance of the building following his previous works. This work can be seen in Melbourne, such as his simpler natural depictions in St. Michaels Uniting Church on Collins, Melbourne.

Photos of interior details

Poor box As a fascinating detail, the donation box or historically described as the poor box is embedded within the masonry walls with a strict metallic material that engages with occupants.

The Main Narrative The stations of the cross is the most prominent detail, placed strategically around the church, it tells the story of Jesus’s crucifixion starting from right to left representing the hand gesture that is performed when a Catholic enters their church. This shows the suffering Jesus went through so that we can acquire his blessings which is the symbolisation of the Catholic hand gesture. The expression is communicated through a series of brass engraved portraiture. 16. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018 17. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018


Reflection The architects use many factors to identify their detailing process, particularly on what stories they want to portray and what spatial attributes they want to evoke on their designs. This is not as evident in St Joseph’s, Black Rock, which doesn’t give the same attention and quality to space, detail and light quality.

Recognition Although the publicity has not been recognised architecturally by awards or mention in architectural article, it is listed as one of the top ten sites to visit in Melbourne. As shown in the historical analysis, the design had to be revolutionary due to the growing urban economical strike through the area. As a precedent for churches built within this day, there is a strong meaning and execution of style that can be used and learned from.

Conclusion Mosaic Glass Panels

The spatial experience felt on the journey through the church doesn’t feel overpowering but has a subtle subconscious effect that causes you to feel contentment and freedom. As the space expands from the entrance and converges at the tree of life, attention is drawn to the important details while giving a sense of liberty. The amount of thought that the church entails may not be distinguishable at first glance, however upon a closer look, the history and story behind the church reflects within it. Emphasis is on the community and site being a strong influence. However, the execution by the parish fathers, designers and the capture of church phenomenology and biophilia while incorporating a contemporary program and style is undeniable.

REFERENCES A Growing Harvest, St Peter’s Parish East Bentley, Bernie O’Brian, 1976. Dr.Banham. "Church Architecture for Contemporary Human Needs." AA 51, no. 3 (September 1962): 80-83. Father Michael Scott, Church Architecture for Contemporary Human Needs 1962. Interview with Father Michael, Head Parish Priest, 2018. Parish bulletin, Newsletter Father Tim O’Sullivan, 1976. The Living Harvest : A History of St. Peter's parish, W.T Dobson, 1974.


02 FIELD NOTES


03 PHOTOGRAPHY


04 360 VR PHOTO


5:00pm 13th Apr 2018


05 WATERCOLOUR


Mosaic Glass Panels


Mosaic Glass Panels


06 DRAWINGS


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WORKED BY SITE VISITING /13 APR /5 APR /4 MAY /6 MAY RESEARCH RESEARCH WRITING ASSISTING WRITING FIELD NOTES PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO EDITING WATERCOLOUR CAD DRAWING CAD DETAIL PART BOOK DESIGN ONLINE PUBLICATION PRESENTATION

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