New Pipe Organ with GGA Architects


The Catholic Cathedral in Adelaide, St. Francis Xavier, is a State-Listed heritage place. In 2014 the Archdiocese engaged contractors, Hansen Yuncken (HY) to carry out all works required to install a refurbished pipe organ into the gallery.

Grieve Gillett Andersen Architects were appointed by HY to coordinate the installation and to design new timber casework to hold the organ pipes. I was the project architect.

View of pipe tower. Timber decorative features reflect the carved stonework around the Cathedral interior. The timber is Tasmanian Blackwood finished with a clear laquer.

The Scope of Works

I had to survey the roofs to ensure that no leaks would damage the sensitive equipment below and, in the event, I oversaw the reslating of the north end of the Cathedral. I also coordinated the installation of the organ, which was an extremely tight fit, redesigned the access stair and designed the new timber casework so that it sat sensitively into the historic Cathedral interior.


Some funding of roof repairs came from Adelaide City Council. Otherwise funding came from the Archdiocese.

Contract Value


Start and Completion on Site

Start on site April 2015. Completed October 2015.

Points of Interest

My greatest challenge was finding an appropriate design for the timber casework. I studied the Cathedral interior for suitable features on which I could base the design, including using the same timber, Tasmanian Blackwood, as existed already throughout the inside as panelling.

3-D modelling the Cathedral interior and the pipe organ together allowed us to coordinate the installation successfully.

From the outset I worked closely with the statutory authorities to ensure we obtained approvals.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Gained

Working directly for a contractor rather than for a client was an experience, as was finding a suitable furniture maker and coordinating their fabrication of the timber casework.

Works underway on the gallery to install the eastern swell box.
View from the gallery looking towards the chancel. The new timber caseworkand organ pipes are in the foreground.