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Revitalisation of Mount Carmel Centre – Wynnum


Summary

Australian Heritage Specialists’ brief was to ensure the usability of Wynnum’s landmark Mount Carmel Convent for a further 100 years.

An extraordinarily complex project, one of Brisbane’s most prominent heritage buildings has been transformed into a vibrant space featuring commercial offices and a function centre.

The challenge

Australian Heritage Specialists was tasked with guiding a $3 million refurbishment of the new Mount Carmel Centre so that it could be used as a resource centre for the Brisbane Catholic Education Centre.

The project was defined by the amount of detail that went into converting it for modern uses, such as disability access, fire safety and interactive function spaces, all of which presented numerous challenges

As a former convent, the building is quite elaborate in design but also very modest in its original function. This brought with it a unique level of architectural detailing, and one of state importance.

Urgent attention was needed to prevent the former convent from falling into a state of irreversible repair.

Crucially, work that ensured the building remained viable for alternative uses and maintained into the future needed to be carried out.

The detailed work included the complete rebuilding of all verandahs surrounding the structure, the installation of a lift and mechanical, electrical and structural upgrades to bring it up to 21st century standards.

Built for the Sisters of Mercy in 1915 by Hall and Dods, a highly renowned architectural firm, the convent was placed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1999.


How we helped

As the project manager, Australian Heritage Specialists developed a comprehensive Conservation Management Plan to guide the restoration and refurbishment, in addition to providing heritage advice over three years.

An archival recording and heritage impact statements were prepared for the site to capture the building before and after the works.

We also helped co-ordinate a team of specialists in architecture, town planning, landscape architecture, and engineering, along with facilitating development approval under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 for the work to be carried out.

The work included re-orientation of the main access to the building from Bay Terrace to Pine Street, a new lift at the Pine Street entrance, electrical and lighting upgrades, and installation of airconditioning and ambulant compliant toilets and showers.

Ramps were installed to doorways for wheelchair access, internal stairs were upgraded to improve compliance, and additional handrails to balustrades were fitted to meet height and load compliance.

Demolition work incorporated a range of elements from aluminium glazing on the verandahs to a first-floor kitchenette, verandah enclosures, school boundary fences, carpets, carports and several pathways.

All work was managed in accordance with the Queensland Heritage Act and the Burra Charter.

Education’s Manager of Business Services Norelle Felschow said the guidance provided by Australian Heritage Specialists (AHS) Principal Consultant Benjamin Gall could not be underestimated as he guided the refurbishment committee through the intricacies of requirements for the retention of the history and ambience of the site.

The Mount Carmel Convent has now been restored and revitalised. Importantly, the heritage values of the building have been protected.


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The Challenge

Australian Heritage Specialists was tasked with guiding a $3 million refurbishment of the new Mount Carmel Centre so that it could be used as a resource centre for the Brisbane Catholic Education Centre.

The project was defined by the amount of detail that went into converting it for modern uses, such as disability access, fire safety and interactive function spaces, all of which presented numerous challenges

As a former convent, the building is quite elaborate in design but also very modest in its original function. This brought with it a unique level of architectural detailing, and one of state importance.

Urgent attention was needed to prevent the former convent from falling into a state of irreversible repair.

Crucially, work that ensured the building remained viable for alternative uses and maintained into the future needed to be carried out.

The detailed work included the complete rebuilding of all verandahs surrounding the structure, the installation of a lift and mechanical, electrical and structural upgrades to bring it up to 21st century standards.

Built for the Sisters of Mercy in 1915 by Hall and Dods, a highly renowned architectural firm, the convent was placed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1999.



How we helped

As the project manager, Australian Heritage Specialists developed a comprehensive Conservation Management Plan to guide the restoration and refurbishment, in addition to providing heritage advice over three years.

An archival recording and heritage impact statements were prepared for the site to capture the building before and after the works.

We also helped co-ordinate a team of specialists in architecture, town planning, landscape architecture, and engineering, along with facilitating development approval under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 for the work to be carried out.

The work included re-orientation of the main access to the building from Bay Terrace to Pine Street, a new lift at the Pine Street entrance, electrical and lighting upgrades, and installation of airconditioning and ambulant compliant toilets and showers.

Ramps were installed to doorways for wheelchair access, internal stairs were upgraded to improve compliance, and additional handrails to balustrades were fitted to meet height and load compliance.

Demolition work incorporated a range of elements from aluminium glazing on the verandahs to a first-floor kitchenette, verandah enclosures, school boundary fences, carpets, carports and several pathways.

All work was managed in accordance with the Queensland Heritage Act and the Burra Charter.

Education’s Manager of Business Services Norelle Felschow said the guidance provided by Australian Heritage Specialists (AHS) Principal Consultant Benjamin Gall could not be underestimated as he guided the refurbishment committee through the intricacies of requirements for the retention of the history and ambience of the site.

The Mount Carmel Convent has now been restored and revitalised. Importantly, the heritage values of the building have been protected.

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AHS delivered a Conservation Management Plan for the State heritage listed former Cairns Masonic Temple

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Delivering heritage services including an Archival Recording at the Coffs Harbour Forestry Building

Case Study

Conserving Willard’s Farm, one of the oldest surviving farms and residences within the Redlands on Brisbane’s Bayside

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AHS projects with Cairns Regional Council include a CMP for Mulgrave Shire Council Chambers

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