Westmere Presbyterian Memorial Church

Westmere Presbyterian Memorial Church

Community & Education

The brief for Westmere Church in Whanganui called for a new entrance to connect the historic war memorial church with its hall and supporting facilities, and also be a space to congregate before and after church services.

Consents were required from Heritage New Zealand, Whanganui District Council, and the National Presbytery and a cost-effective design was needed to meet the Church’s tight budget.

Dalman Architects’ approach was to create a new entry lobby building that both complements and is obviously a new addition to, the hall and the church. The Church’s existing lounge, kitchen and facilities were also upgraded and integrated with the new entrance. The links between the buildings have been set back and minimised to give the impression of three separate buildings.

The contemporary gabled design of the addition complements the simple neo-gothic style of the original red brick church built in 1924, utilising a form and a structural grid echoing that of the historic church. A nod to the original materials was encompassed by using similar recycled red bricks sourced locally to clad the new structural columns. Being sympathetic to the existing heritage church was critical, but so was designing a building that was obviously of its time.

Whilst the form of the new building follows the same roof pitch as the church, its side walls and overall height are much lower, respecting and allowing the church to remain 'the main event'.

Despite the roof pitch, structural grid, red brick column cladding and matching roof finish, this is no replica. Heritage New Zealand is very clear that any extensions look of their time. It is an obviously modern building with a predominantly glazed frontage ensuring an open welcome, quite a contrast to the more solid church typical of its time. Each building sits comfortably beside the other, talking to each other in a similar language, but also providing contrast with their different build eras obvious.

Loading Next Project