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Mausoleum transformed into inspirational public space - Stramit Building Products Media Release
last updated 17/03/09
Stramit Building Products
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Stramit Longspan®
Stramit Monopanel®
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COLORBOND® Metallic steel
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Mausoleum transformed into inspirational public space - Stramit Building Products Media Release Mausoleum transformed into inspirational public space - Stramit Building Products Media Release

Mausoleum transformed into inspirational public space - Stramit Building Products Media Release

Mausoleum transformed into inspirational public space - Stramit Building Products Media Release

A Melbourne mausoleum has set a new standard for funerary architecture with an innovative design approach combining new and traditional materials to create an inspiring yet tranquil public space.

The Holy Angels Mausoleum, at Fawkner Memorial Park, is one of the largest in Australia, housing more than 6000 crypts for Melbourne’s Italian community. Designed by multi-award winning Melbourne firm Harmer Architecture, the entire project took 10 years to complete.

Developed in three separate stages, the Holy Angels Mausoleum complex includes three colonnaded wings extending from main chapel areas, with each wing named after one of the three principal archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel mentioned in the Bible and the non-canonical Book of Tobit.

Bringing contemporary design to one of the oldest interment methods, the complex creates a mood of reverence using colonnaded walkways, stained glass, modern technologies and quality materials such as imported marble and premium metal cladding.

The third and final stage of the complex, the Chapel of the Archangel Gabriel, is built on a roughly triangular site, two sides of which are formed by rectilinear buildings, a 230-metre long Gallery along the street frontage and another long building called the Alinea, with a large circular Chapel in the centre of the triangle

This ground plan allowed the Chapel building to float free of the main Gallery and be surrounded on all sides by landscaped space.

Harmer Architecture made daring use of Stramit® steel cladding profiles to create bold, original effects that delight the eye and lift the spirits of visitors. Unexpected shapes and materials, perfectly harmonised, enhance the feeling of entering a world apart from conventional buildings and beyond the sombre monumentality of a traditional mausoleum.

For the steel cladding on the third stage, Harmer Architecture chose a palette of high quality finishes that included Colorbond® Metallic coated steel (Citi), black Colorbond® coated steel, and uncoated stainless steel. Typical of their innovative approach to this project, they created an original shade of blue for the roof cladding, which they christened Tobit Blue.

The custom-finished Tobit Blue Colorbond® steel was ordered with a Metallic coating in 0.48mm G500 substrate for profiled sheeting, as well as 0.55mm G300 material for the flashing and capping.

Stramit Building Products supplied the stainless steel material, a special marine grade (304 2B) with an attractive natural sheen, rolled in the Stramit Longspan® profile, in both plain and perforated sheets.

Spectacular use was made of the stainless steel Longspan® cladding to form a floating vertical curtain above the walkway around the circular Chapel. The lower section of the ribbed sheeting, below ceiling level, is perforated to create an encircling “veil” that allows light into the building while keeping the weather away from the outer ring of crypts. The 3.17mm perforations provide an open area of 30%, which is surprisingly transparent when viewed from inside the Chapel.

Another impressive use of steel cladding is on a large cantilevered awning at the front of the complex, clad with Stramit Monopanel® concealed-fixed cladding in Colorbond® Metallic coated steel. This lightweight structure creates the impression of a solid sculptural form and provides a dramatic porte-cochere entrance to the Gallery building.

The soffit of the awning continues right through the interior of the building, leading to a covered walkway behind the Gallery, which links it to the circular Chapel. The walkway cover also has a soffit of Monopanel® cladding, in black Colorbond® Night Sky steel.

Stramit Speed Deck Ultra® concealed fixed decking in Tobit Blue Colorbond® steel was used to roof the Chapel and the Alinea building behind it. The central space of the Chapel is open to the sky, with Longspan® stainless steel cladding installed vertically on the internal lining of the skylight. Reflections from the shining steel cladding provide a foil for a steel-mesh sculpture of Saint Gabriel by Charles Rocco, which is suspended by cables in the centre of the skylight.

Project architect Andrew Briant, who oversaw all three stages of the decade-long project, said the master plan by Harmer Architecture was based on the idea that a mausoleum is an active public space.

“An interment usually attracts large numbers of people, which is a very emotional final gesture,” Andrew said. “After the interment, many Italian families visit the mausoleum frequently to change flowers, clean the memorial or simply stand or sit nearby to remember the lost relative.”

“Our design created a diverse array of circulation spaces that articulate in different ways to provide an architecture which relates to people and which inspires and comforts those who visit,” he said.

Stramit Building Products in Melbourne worked closely with Harmer Architecture and cladding contractor Signal & Hobbs to deliver the appropriate profiles and materials.

Chapel of the Archangel Gabriel
Holy Angels Mausoleum

Fawkner Memorial Park, Vic

Harmer Architecture Pty Ltd

Miller Milne Construction

Cladding Contractor:
Signal & Hobbs

Colorbond® and Stainless Steel Cladding:
Stramit Building Products

Resource Acknowledgements
Source: Stramit Building Products media release
Trademark Acknowledgements:  COLORBOND®, ZINCALUME®, TRUECORE® and BlueScope® are registered trademarks of BlueScope Steel Limited, ABN 16 000 011 058.