Second coming for historic Christ mosaic

An engineer who successfully moved a 65 tonne mosaic of the Risen Christ at the historic Sacred Heart Church on Sydney's Notre Dame University campus, has won a Bradfield award for excellence.

Mr Elwyn Berchowitz is senior engineer for Meinhardt NSW. The Engineering Excellence Awards recognise the work of engineers who have been challenged with engineering problems that have required them to be innovative and creative. They Awards were initiated in 1935 by Australian engineer John Bradfield, who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Mr Berchowtz received the Environment & Heritage, and President's Award for his significant work in moving a 65 tonne mosaic, approximately 11 metres, as part of the restoration of the historic Sacred Heart Church which is located at Notre Dame's Darlinghurst site.

Extensive planning occurred in preparation for it, including advice from conservation architects, heritage architects and engineering consultants.

Notre Dame's architect, Marcus Collins said: "At the upper scale, the shifting of the very large 1960's mosaic Risen Christ by famous Italian sculptor Enrico Gaudenzi and manufactured by the Vatican Mosaic Studio in Rome, without the loss of a single tile, was a major engineering feat.

"I know from my experience as a heritage architect of 30 years that no previous project has come close to needing the scope and complexity of engineering service, than were required in conserving this building."

The historic Sacred Heart Church has now been restored to its 1912 state.

The move was essential in the development of the Darlinghurst Site which is the location for the new seven storey building providing state-of-the-art facilities for Notre Dame's School of Nursing and the new School of Medicine, which will open in 2008.

Moving Mosaic Wins Engineer Award (Media Release, 26/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Notre Dame University Australia
John Bradfield (Wikipedia)
Engineering Excellence Awards

27 Sep 2007