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   -   Heritage Award of Merit

St Marys College-Chapel & Old School Room Restoration
by Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd



The Convent buildings at St Mary's College, Adelaide were adapted for school administration use along with significant restoration work in 1996. The restoration of the oldest buildings on the site, the Chapel and 'Old School Room', which were not immediately useable by the school, was delayed until funds became available. Undersetting and repointing using inappropriate materials had been carried out 15 years ago, prior to Brown Falconer's involvement on the site. This had only exacerbated the salt problems, and no attempt had been made at that time to improve the appearance of the building internally or externally. Skirtings had been replaced with modern flat skirtings, surface mounted switchboards, electrical conduits and bare fluorescent tube light fittings adorned the walls. Leadlight panels had been replaced with plain glass or painted over, and original painted panels were in poor condition. As part of the 2003 restoration project, the bluestone walls and polychrome brick detailing were restored, repointed and lined. Previous wire cut brick undersetting was removed and replaced with bluestone as original. External paving was lowered, underfloor

ventilation improved and the walls poulticed to remove salts. Paint scrapings in the Chapel revealed original rich wall colours, including a stencilled frieze high on the side walls, gold leaf stars on a dark blue Sanctuary ceiling, and multi coloured arch and corbel mouldings, including gold leaf. All of these were accurately reproduced, next to exposed sections of the original. Concealed wiring was installed, and new lighting was custom designed by the Architect and manufactured using standard components. The random invisible pendant suspension of lights against a dark blue ceiling has the appearance of constellations of stars. This mimics the original ceiling which may have been decorated with gold stars as the Sanctuary. The zinc-framed Sanctuary windows were identified by the leadlight artist as being by Edward Brooks, the first colonial maker of windows in South Australia. Other examples of his windows were researched to determine what the large plain glass panels may have originally contained, and new panels were designed in a similar style to tell the story of the various occupants of the building. Deteriorated painted and engraved panels were reproduced.

Adelaide, SA
Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd
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Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd
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.Project Team
Project architect: Ms Tania Helen Viedt, Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd
Design architect: Ms Tania Helen Viedt, Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd
Electrical consultant: Mr Jim Emery, Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd
Lighting consultant: Mr Dom Bonello, CIDA Group Pty Ltd
Builder: Mr Kim Harrold, Harrold and Kite Pty Ltd
Leadlight Artist: Ms Cedar Prest, Cedar Prest Glass Artist
Photographer: Mr Don Brice, Don Brice Photography

Photographs by Mr Don Brice of Don Brice Photography, text by Brown Falconer Group Pty Ltd

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects