When the St. Barnabas Church in Sydney, Australia, suffered an electrical failure and burnt to the ground in 2006, the congregation thought all was lost. The fire consumed not only one of Australia’s oldest churches — the stone was laid in 1858 — but also a 100-year-old pipe organ, a historic stained-glass window and memorials to parishioners who died in World War I. According to media reports, the fire left nothing but the stone exterior.
An Australian company that specializes in polished concrete and seamless flooring and wall solutions, Honestone, recently completed restoration to give the church new life. The church, which has been affectionally called “Barneys,” enjoyed flooring, a renewed altar area, stairs and a stunning curved wall by Honestone. Architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Buildcorp Contracting NSW and many subcontractors all toiled to revive the church.
“It’s very beautiful but also very functional,” said Barneys resident Reverend Mike Pagent. “The surface invites people to engage with it.”
Rev. Pagent said there was a huge amount of appreciation for the curved feature walls. “Because they are hand-finished they look natural and have an organic feel.” The hand-finished walls are not completely smooth, which allows for some irregularities and play of light. Because it is not completely smooth, dust and other marks from daily use do not show as much.
“The light plays on the irregularities because of that [hand finish] and we love it,” Pagent said. “The natural hand finish invites you to touch and the way the light plays off the surface makes you think the building is carved out of stone, not concrete – amazing.”
Honestone director Rick Hendriks said his team of experts worked closely with other trades to ensure no stone was left unturned in cementing the perfect look for the new church. “We came on board three months prior to project completion to ensure the best, timely, and professional seamless floor and wall solutions were utilized,” Hendriks said. “We wanted to incorporate a true representation of the warm and holy nature of the church and worked with a white Ardex panDOMO Floor-Plus seamless polished cement finish for several areas, including the upstairs worship space, the stairs to the altar and a beautifully curved feature wall. Spanning some 200 square meters, we also used a subtle light-gray polished cement for the lobby floor of the church, which was in tune with the serene nature of the space.”
In total, the project at Barneys encompassed 600 square meters (6,458 feet) of flooring and 280 square meters (3,014 feet) of walls and took an 8-week period to complete.
“The project involved many intricate processes too, such as blending wall products to the flooring, working with curvatures, and technical details such as lining up corners and levelling various planes. No one has done anything like this in Australia on one project,” said Hendricks. “We are very proud of the final aesthetics Honestone was able to contribute to the church, coupled with great functionality of a well-gripped surface for the congregation.”
To see the revival of Barneys step by step go to the Honestone website www.honestone.com.au or visit www.barneys.org.au.
Honestone is a specialist in polished concrete, concrete floor preparation, industrial flooring and seamless decorative flooring for the construction industry, commercial, retail and industrial sectors as well as architectural (large scale) and residential properties.