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Winner: Building Design of the Year 2007

Yan Yean Chapel

Orbit Solutions Pty Ltd
Darren Cole-Sinclair
www.orbitsolutions.com.au
(03) 9620 5200
Yan Yean Chapel
Paul West

The Yan Yean Chapel project is clearly the standout project in this year’s BDAV Awards, and won the Building Design of the Year for 2007, the Best Commercial Design, and the Most Effective Use of both Timber and Stone. The brief was to create a non-denominational chapel for services and quiet reflection. The stone and timber building of contemporary design sits beautifully within its surroundings. Its gently curving roof lines reflect the rolling hills to the west and the mountains of the Great Dividing Range to the north.

The Building Designer has clearly demonstrated significant skill. The exquisite use of timber, stone and concrete, and the soft curved roof line, all exhibit significant control and restraint. These elements, coupled with a strong lineal podium base, all combine to provide a unique experience which underpins its context.

The design theme, materials and colour palette fully embraces the intended use of the building.

The clients wanted a non-denominational chapel created, for services and quiet reflection.

“The expanded brief was provided over tea and scones at the kitchen table in the client’s farmhouse at their property not far from the actual cemetery,” said Darren Cole-Sinclair of Orbit Solutions. “Humble is an apt description of this patron, who is a gentleman, easily fitting the description of ‘salt of the earth’. Conversation turned to the merits of building types, function, and the practicalities as well as the expression of materials and the relationship of the building to its surroundings.”

The chapel is a place of quiet reflection. It is a bridge from the older existing cemetery at Yan Yean, to the newly acquired section. Reflecting the gentle rolling forms of the surrounding hills, the design conveys a sense of serenity by creating sheltered areas that frame the expansive views to the Great Dividing Range.


The Yan Yean Chapel demonstrates what a building designer can achieve when they fully understand the project brief, and are truly creative and bold in their design response. The chapel is a pure architectural expression of form, light, materials and function. The clarity of resolution in detailing and planning set this building apart from the everyday. The Chapel was realised on a tight budget; and is an excellent example of collaboration between client, designer, and builder, to achieve a building gifted to the community.