Ashwin Kuruvilla



Architecture & Social Agency




St. Canice Centre for Rehabilitation

'Body, Mind & Spirit'

The St. Canice church is located in the heart of Kings Cross and opens its doors to a wide and diverse community of parishioners. Apart from the aspect of faith, the church plays a small, yet significant role in rehabilitating Kings Cross from some of its vices by reaching out to the homeless and the disadvantaged. How can a space of faith encourage rehabilitation and well-being? Can architecture rehabilitate a community through inclusive design?

By expanding the existing outreach by the church, the project proposal aims to transform St.Canice into a care centre - a beacon for health, by catering to the well-being of its patrons. The project envisions a holistic environment that rehabilitates the ‘Body, Mind and Spirit’. The masterplan seeks to unify the site which is predominantly occupied by the church and welcomes the public into the heart of the site, inviting people in need to get the support they require.

The programme is a response to the 3 primary non-religious outreach activities on the site. The rehabilitation of 'the body' is facilitated by the addition of a medical clinic that caters to the community and a new restaurant with the primary focus of establishing itself as a food centre open to all to all. The rehabilitation of 'the mind is through a series of spaces that cater to psychological services and mental health. Materiality and light, play pivotal roles in the shaping of the project. The entire lower level of the building is enveloped in brick as a ‘plinth’ and pays homage to the church, while ‘new’ delicate spaces, constructed from timber emerge from this plinth base. Unlike most medical centres or clinics, the project moves away from the sterile ‘white’ nature of most medical centres by using warm, natural materials and perforated privacy screens that encourage the community to support each other.