1-11 Epsom Road, Kensington
Client: The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne / St Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church
Project type: Institutional (place of assembly)
Stakeholders: City of Melbourne, St Mary’s congregation, local community
Value: $5 million
Image courtesy of Studio Bright
St Mary’s is situated in a prominent intersection in the heart of Kensington, occupying several single-storey building in addition to the double-storey brick chapel. Over the time, the congregation has grown, and the church needed more space and amenities. Their requirements: an expansion of amenities that would include new meeting rooms, classrooms for Sunday School, informal gathering spaces and additional parking.
Under UPco’s guidance, the proposal was amended to address several key planning issues: urban design, traffic and heritage considerations. The new design retains the existing church building – but replaces the other buildings with a high-quality, contemporary double-storey building, which has vehicular access and services located along the rear laneway.
Initially approved by Council, this aspect of the project was knocked back due to an appeal lodged by an adjoining landowner. Thankfully, UPco was able to resolve this outside of a VCAT hearing via successful negotiations with the landowner and Council – carefully balancing the interests of Council and surrounding landowners, while still reaching a desirable outcome for the client.