THINK BRICK AWARDS 2018
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John Taylor Architect
Curvado - Roja
Designed by renowned priest-architect Monsignor John Hawes, St Francis Xavier Cathedral has been recognised as an extremely important Twentieth Century architectural icon, heritage-listed at National, State, and Local Government levels. Work on the cathedral was carried out in stages, commencing in June 1916, with opening of the completed building finally occurring in 1938. Consequent to economic difficulty with Depression and war years, following completion the multi-faceted cathedral roofs were
covered with asbestos fibre cement sheeting. Yet Hawes had always intended that the nave and sanctuary roofs of the cathedral would be covered in red clay tiles, complementing the Nolba limestone walls.
The Cordova tiles placed in 2015 provide the stylistic resolution exemplified in Hawes’ ecclesiastical architecture around the world. The complex geometry of the apsidal end to the sanctuary provided challenges to the contractors for the project. Only four hip cappings had been visible with previous sheet roofing, whereas it was discovered there were in fact nine required to suit the intricate geometry of the unveiled structure. Upcoming centenary milestones for the Diocese and the wish to conserve the place for future generations stimulated this comprehensive restoration and enhancement project, which has been met with acclaim.