National Trust award for transforming run-down water tank into acclaimed outback Sound Chapel

17 MAY 2023

National Trust award for transforming run-down water tank into acclaimed outback Sound Chapel

A western NSW art installation has won a National Trust (NSW) Heritage Award with the help of a Charles Sturt University engineering academic.

  • A National Trust (NSW) heritage award for the Cobar Sound Chapel is shared by a Charles Sturt engineering academic
  • Charles Sturt Engineering Consulting worked closely with the architect and artist to bring their dreams to reality, winning the Trust’s ‘Adaptive Re-use’ category
  • Stepping into the Sound Chapel provides an ‘all enveloping’ sensation where visitors can ‘connect with something larger than themselves’

A western NSW art installation has won a National Trust (NSW) Heritage Award with the help of a Charles Sturt University engineering academic.

The Cobar Sound Chapel was conceived by composer Mr Georges Lentz, the architect was the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Mr Glenn Murcutt, AO, and Charles Sturt Engineering Consulting  did the engineering for the design and construction of the Sound Chapel.

Engineer-in-Residence in the Charles Sturt School of Computing, Mathematics and Engineering Mr Peter Thew (pictured left, in the Sound Chapel) said he worked closely with the architect and artist to bring their dreams to reality in a way that ‘just works’ and as a result the Cobar Sound Chapel won the ‘Adaptive Re-Use’ category of the annual heritage awards.

Mr Thew said it is wonderful to have their work recognised by the National Trust in the category ‘Adaptive Re-use’.

“We took a rusted abandoned council water tank and turned it into something completely new and amazing,” he said.

“The same engineering principles that I use in more functional structures apply here just the same.”

Mr Thew said the sensation of stepping into the room is ‘all enveloping’. 

“The chapel plays the composition by Georges on a loop in a concrete room in an abandoned water tank outside Cobar,” he said.

“From the outback heat, the cool concrete creates a cocoon-like atmosphere, enhanced by the live acoustic feel of the space and the quadrophonic music playing.

“With the sky visible and the sun shining through a golden ‘lens’ in the roof creating a pattern on the textured wall, visitors can connect with something larger than themselves as they contemplate the music inspired by nature.”

Charles Sturt Engineering Consulting is the commercial arm of Charles Sturt Engineering. It provides consulting engineering services to a range of clients. This includes:

  • Civil and structural engineering design
  • Environmental engineering and specialist research
  • Engineering investigations, and
  • Lab services and product development


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Mr Peter Thew contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via news@csu.edu.au

Share this article
share

Share on Facebook Share
Share on Twitter Tweet
Share by Email Email
Share on LinkedIn Share
Print this page Print

All Local News Arts and Culture Engineering Society and Community