Melbourne, Australia – 04 May 2015 from: CTBUH newsletter 3-5-2015
An ancient church is moving with the times to create a modern place of worship in central Melbourne.
The 2000-year-old Coptic Orthodox Church is developing a multimillion-dollar central business district high-rise to house its newest parish.
The design of the 44-story tower requires that some features iconic to the church will be sacrificed, especially the traditional domed roof, but the Melbourne diocese is staunchly cleaving to its honored rituals.
The clergy of the city’s Coptic Orthodox Diocese gathered at the basement level of the La Trobe Street construction site to bless the foundation on which the new tower that combines religion, retail, and residential will be built.
They did so to mark the latest chapter in the history of a city block which is believed to be a location of colonial settlement activity.
At each corner of the $90 million development, four heavy-duty steel boxes containing gospels were lowered into the ground. In the center, a time capsule was buried. It contained the Bible, a wooden cross, money, the newspaper of the day and a declaration of the building’s purpose and names of the clergy present wrapped in silk.
The Eporo Tower is a collaboration between the Coptic Orthodox Church – the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East – and Singaporean investment company Ho Bee. It is due to be completed at the end of 2016.
The lower levels of the tower will include a place of worship for the church’s 20,000 Victorian followers, a hall, classrooms, and campus for its theological college. The building’s 307 one- and two-bedroom apartments have already been sold.
Father Mark Attalla, who scoured the city for a suitable site, said the development was aimed at building a community around the parish. “We wanted to have a church within a community; the bottom floor being commercial, the next three and a half floors spiritual, and the rest residential,” he said.
The blade-like high-rise will have classic finishes including six five-meter-high stained-glass windows facing the street and a Coptic cross motif adorning the cladding of the tower.
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