Ian Ferrier was appointed as the architect of the new church to be built on the Harriet Street site. This was an exciting time in the history of the Catholic Church due to changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and Ferrier was well placed to design a church that reflected the times. He was also cognizant of the Queensland climate with its heat and rain.
Built in 1969, Holy Spirit Church is a testament to the international trend that emerged in the late 1960s – because of Vatican II – for churches to be more responsive to their suburban setting. This led to smaller, contextual church designs that were sympathetic to neighbouring residential dwellings and community infrastructure.
Holy Spirit’s adoption of a fan-shaped plan to gather the congregation around and close to a carefully detailed sanctuary, with a humbler nearly domestic suburban scale exterior was consistent with the aspirations of the church. The Catholic Leader newspaper, commented “The church is not pretentious, but merely a simple statement of man’s desire to honour and worship his Creator, and in consequence the human scale is acknowledged in the building’s proportions without forsaking the dignity which is essential to any sacred building.”
The experimentation with design also included gathered seating in the planning of the church and the positioning of the altar to allow the priest to stand behind and the creation of more intimate spaces. The buildings’ climate-responsive design was also noted by the Catholic Leader at the time “Ventilation is a feature and complements the design for its generous openings that open to prevailing north-east breezes and high-level windows that allowed hot air to escape. There is ‘special emphasis … on the need for adequate ventilation so necessary in Brisbane’s climate’. The introduction of two clerestories over the open-plan worship space, provided both natural daylight and cross ventilation. The shaded verandah spaces to the south-east, south and western facades provided further daylight, while limiting solar gain and adverse glare.” (Catholic Leader, December 28, 1969).