Knox Church Residence

DATE: 2009
LOCATION: Elsternwick, Victoria, AU
OLD USE: Church
NEW USE: Private residence


Established by John Knox, The Kirk was built in 1867 in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. The building features brick polychrome which was at the height of its popularity during its construction. Alternating cream and umber brick mark the gear-tooth points and wrap the building in tiny quoins. The church became an icon for the community with its style being mimicked in a nearby substation as well as homes.[1]


The team at Williams Boag Architects (WBa) has expertise in architecture, planning, urban design, and interior design. With a focus on a sustainable future, WBa has handled a number of adaptive reuse projects since their founding in 1975. Some of their adaptive reuse projects include the conversions of the Melbourne GPO Building (post office to retail hub), the Ancient Times House (warehouse to affordable youth housing), and the former Uniting Church (church to apartments).


Through the adaptive reuse process, WBa was able to retain the shell of the church as well as the original flooring. Even the original pulpit remains in the new home, moved only about 10 feet. The interior now includes segmented rooms within the large space of the church. A new garage was added separate from the church while a carport was attached to the family room.[2]

This once community space for worshipping has now been repurposed for the benefit of a single family. While the community may have lost a gathering space, the surrounding area has been strengthened by the retained style and new life of the conversion.

[1]Australian Design Review
[2]Australian Design Review

Images courtesy of Sonia Mangiapane.