Whitefriars Chapel

Whitefriars Chapel

Here, irregular curved box beams provide a custom structural solution in an inspiring chapel structure in Donvale, Victoria

The Whitefriars Chapel was officially blessed and opened on Sunday May 2nd 2010, by the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Most Rev Fernando Milan Romeral. The project was conceived as an inspirational chapel and features a light-bathed separation in a sweeping curved ceiling.
The brief
JC Rawlings were faced with the challenge of sourcing the 15 irregularly curved and tapered beams to support the roof structure spanning from a central concrete spine to precast concrete columns at the perimeter of the circular floor area. Secondary members spanning between the primary beams needed to be accurately located to support plywood panels to act as a structural underlay for the installation of the bell shaped standing-seam copper roof.

Timberbuilt met the challenge of designing a custom structural solution for a unique building. Strong environmental outcomes were also produced with the use LVL and plywood manufactured from plantation grown softwood species.

The curved box beams were delivered in full and on time and successfully installed over 3 days without any installation problems whatsoever. JC Rawlings said that the on-site carpenters had bets running about the chances of all the holes being in the correct location, and the lengths and angle dimensions of the box beams. Perfect!
The high order spatial accuracy required was achieved using Cadwork 3D software modelling. The manufacture of the tapered, curved box beams to the required order of accuracy was achieved by adapting a facility within the software to virtually straighten the curved flange elements for accurate processing on Timberbuilt’s Hundegger K2 linear joinery machine and then, for manufacture of the curved beams, physically bending the flange pieces to the required shape for the attachment of the plywood webs.

Project Details

LocationDonvale, Victoria


ArchitectGraeme Law & Associates Pty Ltd

BuilderJC Rawlings Pty Ltd

Structural designTimberbuilt Pty Ltd

  • Curved plywood box section rafters create an inspiring bell-shaped roof and ceiling

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  • By modeling the members and their components in 3D, Timberbuilt Australia could produce predictable outcomes in manufacture and performance

    | TBS
  • 100% plantation grown timber products were used for a great environmental outcome

    | TBS