Arthouse Architects

Seafarers' Chapel

The little chapel at 235 Haven Road, Nelson, was in dire need of some TLC when our client purchased the Group B listed building three years ago. In purchasing the building he not only saved the site from being turned into another car yard but also took on the challenge of restoring the building.

Built in 1870, the building had originally sat on the sea edge serving first as a Seafarer’s chapel, haberdashery, storage and lastly a workshop for reconditioning boat engines complete with pulleys attached to the exposed trusses to lift the motors within the building.

After 145 years the chapel no longer sat on the sea edge due to port reclamation, the building had deteriorated structurally and the weatherboards had been covered in asbestos panels painted sky blue creating a very different kind of visual impact. The lean-to was in complete disrepair and the building had dropped off its original piles onto the ground as the structure rotted away.

Our client was keen to restore the building but it also had to be usable. To improve access and allow for better utilization of the site we rotated the building 90 degrees providing side access to rear carparking and north western sun the full length of the building improving natural light into the interior.

The chapel was lifted off its rotten foundations and stored on site while a new concrete foundation was constructed, studs repaired and the windows rebuilt.

It was then repositioned on its new foundation, a new lean-to constructed, weatherboards and interior repaired and timber overlay flooring salvaged from the rimu framing of the neighbouring boat builders shed when it was demolished.

The renovated chapel now awaits its new tenants ready for another 154 years of service to its community.

completed:
2017
contractors:
Gus Harrison
photographer:
Kate Macpherson Photographer
Awards: