#5 / 14 Leura Street, Nedlands, Western Australia; t: +61 (8) 9386 4615; e: studio@mcdfarchitects.com.au

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UNDA Darlinghurst Campus (NSW)

Completed 2008

The University of Notre Dame Australia's School of Medicine and Nursing is located on the tiny and densely developed 2,560m square metre historic Sacred Heart site in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. The difficult task of conserving the heritage important church and school buildings as well as leaving sufficient room for new development had previously created an unviable site. The key to the UNDA's development was demolition of discordant 1958 extensions to the 1912 church leaving a sufficient footprint to construct a new seven storey medical facility, which together with the adaptive re-use of the 1880 school, 1970 presbytery, and church basement level, gave sufficient floor area for the new medical school.

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The redevelopment also included the massive engineering task of shifting a 92 tonne reinforced concrete apse supporting a large heritage listed mosaic entitled 'The Risen Christ' 10 metres back to the original 1912 end of the church. The required floor area and impact of a new building on the site required a carefully considered form to complement the existing heritage and streetscape context of the site, including the large mass of St Vincent's Hospital on the opposite side of Victoria Street, and the Victorian era shops and hotel on the opposite side of Oxford Street. From a heritage viewpoint the continued use of the site as a Catholic educational and religious institution is an almost perfect fit. The site provides the UNDA with a medical school of unique character and functionality in a unparalleled location that would not have been possible if it was not for the heritage issues it was able to embrace and build on.