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Futuna Chapel

Futuna Chapel


Futuna Close, Friend Street, Karori, Wellington

In 1958 Hawke's Bay architect John Scott was approached to design the Futuna Retreat Chapel. The Chapel to be a retreat centre, not a monastic enclosure, open to all, of any faith, who had aspirations to a deeper meaning in their life, a place for silence and inner renewal.

The Chapel was built in 1961 by the brothers themselves, the only sub-contractor was an electrician.

The Chapel of Futuna is regarded as one of New Zealand's finest architectural experiences. It has been described as "an extraordinary fusion of modernism and Maori architecture".

Futuna Chapel opened in 1961 and immediately became a talking point among architects and a Mecca for aspiring members of the profession.

In the years since, this little private building, hidden away in a Wellington suburb, has become generally regarded as an architectural masterpiece and perhaps the most complete example of a true modern "indigenous" New Zealand design.

The chapel is a place of reflection and contemplation, of meditation and inspiration. No one could sit on a pew in the Futuna and not connect with the spirit, the mauri, of the building; the play of light across the walls and floor, the contrasts of material and texture, the perfectly proportioned walls and windows, the human size and intimacy of the spaces, and the chapel’s strong connection with the earth. These qualities don't come from the building’s history, or how much it cost, or even its Christian connections. They come from the quality of the architecture.

In the Futuna you can only marvel at the complexity of the initial idea and the elegance of the solutions to the problems that arose in realising this idea. But not only that, it is also full of wonderful details, the ideas and artwork of others, and the love of the brothers who built it.

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