Text description provided by the architects. The Salesian house project was an exciting commission for us and a great opportunity to develop a close working relationship with an unusual and exemplary client.
Our proposals had to be co-ordinated with the development of a new school on the adjacent land. This was a very rewarding process in which we worked in tandem with the wider professional team (led by AHMM) and the contractor (Lend Lease) to take account of the site-wide master plan. This culminated in a joint planning submission for the school and the community house.
Working with the Salesians was a genuinely collaborative effort between client and architect. They had ideas about what might work for them but without any pre-conceived image in mind. They were receptive to our ideas and our interpretation of the brief and fully supported us in our determination to achieve a solution that is both pragmatic and aspirational.
The geometry of the site was both a challenge and a ‘driver’ for the design and the complex duality of their needs required us to marry public uses with private spaces - arranging such a wide mix of uses within a relatively small building was not an easy task. Making sure the offices, bedrooms, communal living spaces, educational facilities, and the library would all be able to function properly, without compromising the pre-eminence of the chapel, was paramount.
The Salesian community was able to get the best out of us by knowing when to say ‘we trust you’ and when to challenge us to validate our ideas more thoroughly. Together we feel we have created a unique building which fully satisfies a singular brief.