st barnabas church in sydney given curving form by FJMT
all images courtesy of francis-jones morehen thorp




in may 2006, the st barnabas church and adjacent community hall were destroyed by a fire, leaving the 145 year old institution without a home. architecture office francis-jones morehen thorp was commissioned to design the new facilities, and envisioned the project as a peaceful gathering place representative of its constituents’ values. the completed scheme is characterized by a large undulating roof form, which is composed of two opposing waves rising at either end of the structure. this gesture monumentalizes the building within the city’s context, and distinguishes heightened volumes for the entry and worship spaces. at the center, a social and transitional area provides a place for gathering and entry into the congregation hall.

fjmt st barnabas church designboomcurving forms converge upward, framing a bright open space above




the worship hall is defined by its curving roof, walls, and ceilings. light enters from high in the space, and travels down the dynamic white forms to produce a luminous and open environment. the entry façade serves as an icon for the church. through a large cruciform window, distinct lighting conditions are created on the interior during the day, and an illuminated cross projects to the exterior at night. the program includes a courtyard and gardens to allow for flexible and informal use.

fjmt st barnabas church designboom


fjmt st barnabas church designboomthe floor curves to become a wall

fjmt st barnabas church designboomthe rising undulation above the worship hall monumentalizes the structure on an urban scale

fjmt st barnabas church designbooma wide staircase separates the main entry from the street level, while ground floor doors provide secondary access

fjmt st barnabas church designboomthe ground floor entry is visually transparent and spatially open

fjmt st barnabas church designboomthe double height ‘social heart’ serves as a gathering and transition zone in the building

fjmt st barnabas church designboomthe main entry façade is accented by a large cruciform window

fjmt st barnabas church designboomat night, a glowing cross  illuminates the site





project info:


location: sydney, NSW, australia
client: anglican property trust, diocese of sydney
architect: fjmt (francis-jones morehen thorp)
consultant team: taylor thomson whitting, aecom, page kirkland group, accessibility solutions, the hendry group, arup, davis langdon, mwt transport planning, acoustic studio, windtech, jba urban planning consultants, gba heritage
photography: john gollings, ethan rohloff, andrew chung