The glassy, elegant new Bishop Selwyn Chapel brings together Parnell’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Sixty years isn’t an excessive period of time to take to complete a cathedral. Many in Europe have taken centuries. Even so, the wildly eclectic stop-start development of Parnell’s Holy Trinity Cathedral never seemed to suffer from an excess of speed. The foundation stone for the cathedral was laid in 1957 and the building – a scaled-down version of a pre-war Charles Towle design – completed in 1973. Almost a decade later, the beautiful timber St Mary’s-in-Holy-Trinity, designed by Benjamin Mountfort in the late 1800s, was moved next to it. Then Richard Toy designed the cathedral’s dramatic, zigzagging nave in the early 1990s, but until very recently, things were terribly unresolved out the back. The cathedral’s southern wall was partially clad in patches of corrugated iron, awaiting a chapel to complete the ensemble.
That chapel arrived earlier this year, a glass box topped with a delicately draped golden ceiling that is the realisation of a competition-winning concept by Fearon Hay Architects. It allows visitors to look south through oak trees towards Maungawhau and Maungakiekie, to the west to St Mary’s, and behind to the chancel (the space around the altar). It adds an elegant note of cohesion to this diverse architectural group.
Here, Fearon Hay’s Jeff Fearon and Holy Trinity Cathedral Dean Jo Kelly-Moore talk through the chapel’s key features.