The Catholic Church has announced that the final stage in the completion of its St Stephen’s Cathedral and Precinct Redevelopment project, begun in the late 1980’s, is to begin in the New Year.
Stage 1 of the project was the restoration and redevelopment of St Stephen’s Cathedral and the old St Stephen’s’ School building, followed by the landscaping of the grounds and the restoration of St Stephen’s Chapel.
This final stage will bring the precinct redevelopment to completion.
The project, which comprises four levels (two below the level of the Cathedral grounds and two above), is expected to commence mid-January with completion date in mid-December 2004.
The principal elements of the design include:
- Covered space for use when liturgical celebrations begin outside the Cathedral, for example the Easter Vigil.
- Hospitality areas for gatherings before and after Cathedral services.
- Areas for clergy to vest for Cathedral liturgies.
- Practice rooms for the Cathedral’s three choirs.
- Offices for Cathedral Administration and the Bishops.
- St Paul’s Book Centre.
- Meeting rooms.
- Additional car parking spaces for Cathedral worshippers.
The contract price is $11.6 million, with John Holland Pty Ltd submitting the successful tender.
Financing for this project will come from diocesan investments and income from Church tenancies.
No welfare or mission work of the Archdiocese will be curtailed by the project.
While the historic Cathedral is enhanced by green lawns on the Edward Street side, until now it has been overshadowed and ‘hemmed in’ on the other side.
It is hoped the project will enhance not only the liturgical and pastoral life of the Cathedral but the life of the city as well.
“I am delighted that this project has come to fruition because for many years the Cathedral has effectively been breathing with only one lung. The new building will assist us as a Church through the greater availability of covered liturgical space. It will also provide another thoroughfare to the river for the people of Brisbane,” the Archbishop said.
The Architects, Conrad and Gargett, have worked closely with both the Liturgical Commission and the Archdiocesan Property teams to ensure that the design is in harmony with the rest of the award-winning Cathedral precinct.
The Cathedral precinct has become something of an oasis in the city where people gather to relax, share lunch or find a peaceful place in the midst of the hectic life of the city.
This project will enhance the site where the Church already maintains four heritage-listed buildings.
In 2000, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects nationally recognised the restoration of St Stephen’s Chapel through the bestowal of the Lachlan Macquarie Award for Best Conservation Architecture.