Saving All Saints old and new
Plans to build a new, modern foyer in front of Palmerston North’s historic All Saints church have provoked a flurry of community condemnation.
Awapuni resident Viviana Arriagada said on Neighbourly that it was ugly, covering the beautiful front of the church.
On the other hand, Jordan Taylor from Highbury-Westbrook said while it was a shock at first, it would look great.
All Saints priest John Hornblow said he had received comments ranging from ‘‘horrendous’’ to ‘‘awesome’’.
The parish unveiled its $5m plan to preserve the century-old brick church, remove the baptistery wall, and build a new glazed entrance and covered gathering area out the front at the weekend.
The building has been closed to the public for more than three years after being assessed as earthquake prone.
The concept plans include earthquake strengthening that will preserve the interior of the church, including the World War 1 memorial stained glass east window, and the pipe organ.
Newly appointed parish leader Nigel Dixon said 75 per cent of the congregation had picked the concept from a choice of three.
He described it as ‘‘a little bit out there’’.
But Heritage New Zealand would not support additions that tried to blend in with the heritage features of the building.
‘‘It has to be distinctively different, and we have a choice to do that in a way that is iconic, or boring.
‘‘Might challenge some people’s views about what a church ‘should’ look like’’ Alison Dangerfield, Heritage NZ
‘‘I don’t think Palmerston North needs more boring.’’
The techniques selected for preserving and strengthening the tower would restrict access through the door at its base, compounding the need for a new entrance.
Dixon said he was keen to let more light into the church’s dark interior, and let people walking past see in.
The glassed front was likely to extend around the corner along the south wall of the church, creating an additional gallery area where people could meet.
Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said at the unveiling that All Saints was ‘‘a beautiful church’’, that had played a vital role in the community for more than a century.
He said the church held memories that were priceless.
It would have been devastating if the parish had decided to demolish it.
Heritage New Zealand Central Region heritage adviser for architecture Alison Dangerfield said the additions might challenge some people’s views about what a church ‘‘should’’ look like.
She was delighted with the decision to strengthen the church, and ‘‘at ease’’ with the flamboyant and dynamic entrance foyer.
Concept plans for a new entrance to All Saints church that provide shelter and light.