St James’ Chapel and Dover Hall is central to Anglicare’s residential aged care precinct in Castle Hill. The building and terrace spans a 940m2 footprint and is composed of a ceramic clad building encasing the chapel, Dover hall and supporting spaces. This is broken down in scale with a lightweight, perforated aluminium veil, allowing a soft dappled light to filter through the internal space at all times of the day. This, combined with a warm interior palette, creates a golden, heavenly hue, enveloping its visitors as they experience ceremonial events.

The layout of the chapel is juxtaposed, with the spire and entrance centred along the width of the building and spilling out to the courtyard which functions as an outdoor communal area. The courtyard connects the chapel to other elements of Lober square, the original and refurbished Lober House, the bowling green and the café, completing the public domain renewal as envisaged by Jackson Teece.

The chapel has been built on the site of its predecessor that was originally built in 1965. The simple steel cross sitting on top of the faceted spire is a keystone element in the design, standing as a symbol of fellowship and heart of the community, reaching the same 32m height as the original. This height combined with wind loads determined the size and shape of the building frame.

Elements of significance have been retained from the original chapel. Fourteen reclaimed stained glass windows are complemented by soft angled wall paneling and light boxes; the original timber cross sits in the traditional position beyond the altar, while narrow vertical window openings with coloured glass sit behind the cross drawing your eye towards the altar; and the original chapel bell now sits in a modern frame at the chapel’s entrance.

The flexible and multi-functional space can host up to 400 people, and has been designed to house a variety of activities and functions in one cohesive space. Two automated acoustic sky-fold walls enable a quick transition of connection and separation between the chapel and hall with ease of operation.

Jackson Teece prepared the master plan for the entire site which was secured through a design competition in 2010. The master plan included 6 new apartment buildings, 6 villas and 3 new community buildings. The chapel is the final element, completing the overall retirement village renewal.

Photographer: Michael Nicholson