CHROFI was invited to provide a proposal for the ‘Parramatta Mission – The Gathering Place’ in an Architectural Design Excellence Competition. Our proposal was inspired by three key considerations: Parramatta Mission itself, the site context and creating a meaningful connection to Country.
Parramatta Mission, as part of the Uniting Church in Australia, provides services to vulnerable and disadvantaged people who often live on the fringes of society or are in need of temporary support until they get back on their feet. Services include mental health support, accommodation and meals.
To rethink what type of space would feel most welcoming and natural for people, we conceived the upper two levels as a large conservatory space that captured a sense of nature and landscape within the CBD of Parramatta. Timber was used as the structural element and also as an interior finish to give a sense of ‘home’ and a less formal setting. The soup kitchen on the ground level opened up to the adjacement Church while maintaining a level of projection and privacy to the street edges facing the public realm.
To create a meaningful connection to Country, CHROFI partnered with Joanne Kinniburgh and Shannon Foster of Bangawarra, offering a direct link to their ancestors and opportunity for education on Aboriginal history and values.
Combing the three principles of Parramatta Mission, site context and connection to Country, our design sought to bring healing, joy and delight as the social and spiritual gateway to Parramatta.