Referred to as “Sydney’s Fastest Growing Town”, Oran Park is growing at a rapid pace. Sitting 60km south west of Sydney, the new Oran Park Town boasts much more than the dairy farms and a motor race track that it was previously known for. It is estimated by 2020 that Oran Park will accommodate 25,000 residents with housing, restaurants, schools, and community and recreational facilities.
Sydney’s rapid population growth is not only demanding housing, but also the supporting community fabric. Within this community fabric stands New Life Anglican Church, prominently positioned within a suburban street context, in proximity to houses, schools and retail.
In an environment that encourages car use, New Life Church is set in a location easily accessible by walking or cycling and offers a transparent and open design, ideal for supporting a socially connected environment. NBRS+Partners’ Design Director Andrew Duffin and Project Architect Andrew Tripet based the design around a community-focused church and included elements that evoke a sense of community ownership. These elements include the inviting forecourt, transparent worship centre, and the colourful cross-structured tower.
Set in the forecourt is the dynamic 20 metre-high coloured, glass tower along Central Avenue and situated on a diagonal axis between Oran Park Town Centre and the distant heritage Oran Park House. Symbolically, the tower’s many colours represent the mix of people forming this new community, a symbol of identity for Oran Park. People can walk around and under the vibrant tower as it sits on four beams lifted off the ground, generating a sense of openness and connection to neighbourhood space.
The church interior is an open and sunlit space with visual connection to the outside, in contrast to the recent trend of blacked-out auditorium spaces. Beyond the façade, the foyer and auditorium are open and exposed allowing the sun to infiltrate throughout and giving those outside a direct view to the internal activities within the church. The orientation of the worship space to the platform is a landscape format as opposed to the traditional portrait layout. The intention behind this is to allow the congregation to be in closer proximity to the worship leaders, encouraging a greater sense of inclusiveness.
The interior spaces seamlessly flow to the exterior through vast, transparent doors opening to the sun-drenched forecourt, creating a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor space. The forecourt is unfenced and extends to the kerb line creating a sense of community ownership. The open ideas of transparency support the key sustainability initiatives of harnessing natural light and ventilation. The result is an inviting and welcoming space that extends to the community; the glass tower a beacon on the hill.
*Thanks to Alexander Mayes Photography for the excellent photos.