Nunyara Chapel awarded at the Australian Institute of Architects Enduring Architecture Award

Posted in News,Uniting Venues

On Thursday 2 July 2020, the Australian Institute of Architects announced the winners of the 2020 SA Architecture Awards. The Uniting Venues’ Nunyara Chapel at Belair was nominated for and awarded the Jack Cheesman Award for Enduring Architecture.

This is the second architectural award the Nunyara Chapel has won, the first being for outstanding architecture shortly after its construction in 1966.

The Chapel will now be considered for a national award for enduring architecture later in the year.

The following is an extract from the award presentation:

“After more than 50 years, the building maintains its strong connection to its context both in its use as the Chapel for the Nunyara Conference Centre and in its relationship to its site. The chapel celebrates its position overlooking the Adelaide Plains from within a treed area on the edge of Belair. The positioning, transparency and lightness of the building emphasise the wonderful outlook, making it a beautiful place entirely appropriate for use as a chapel. The form of a light pavilion structure on top of a sandstone base on the side of the hill is simple and remains effective.

The building largely retains its original interior with straw panel ceiling under a slim roof on similarly slim columns. Externally the simple construction enhances the lightness of the chapel above its base. Environmentally, timber framed glazing on three sides provide abundant daylight, supplemented with lighting consistent with the original design. High-level opening windows allow natural ventilation, and although evaporative cooling has been added, it maintains a low environmental impact. This small project remains relevant, attractive and appreciated by the many people who use it, making it a fine example of enduring architecture.”

The Nunyara Chapel was built in 1963 for the then Methodist Church (now part of the Uniting Church) and designed by Maurice Doley of Cheesman, Doley, Brabham and Neighbour Architects. The Chapel is an outstanding example of ecclesiastical architecture nestled in a site of natural beauty. In addition to the Chapel itself, the belltower and freestanding cross (which were transported from the Maughan Uniting Church site when the building was demolished in 2016) contribute to the heritage significance of the site.

The Nunyara Chapel was officially opened on 12 May 1963. It has three glass walls to capture the view and was home to a worshipping congregation for 21 years, primarily consisting of weekend campers. Soon after the Chapel was opened, Rev C.T. Symons announced: “The addition of the Chapel is a significant step forward for Nunyara and could be used for daily devotions and for Sunday services by campers and members of Conference”.

In 2012 the Nunyara Chapel was added to the South Australian Heritage Register, due to its architectural design, and today it is used for a variety of gatherings, including a large number of church groups and schools holding camps and retreats. The Chapel is the largest of Nunyara’s seven meeting areas and an upgrade of the heating and cooling as well as of the roof and ceiling is planned for 2021.

The Award presentation can be viewed here: The announcement of Nunyara Chapel’s award can be viewed at the 52:30 mark of the video. To find out more about Nunyara and Uniting Venues SA, follow or contact:">


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