Master of Architecture - University of Newcastle

Mariah hart

Mariah Hart


Heritage from a perspective of preservation to maintain culture, maintain a sense of place and belonging, utilising its sustainable and economic value.

Repurposing a building close to my heart, Mount St Mary's College and Convent, Katoomba, that has been abandoned for 26 Years.

I have chosen to explore her past, through a lense of Animism; to me this link is clear. Heritage guidelines always discuss “respecting” and taking a “sympathetic” approach these apathetic words, already hold connotations of personification. Attributing personhood, enables Constance, as I have named her, to tell her narrative, guiding the direction of the project with her identity that emerges from the relationship between what has been, what is there, and how we perceive her.

Constance started her life as a Convent and School, The Sisters of Charity coming to Katoomba for rest and relaxation; Katoomba itself having a history of Respite. She sheltered, protected and educated girls from a young age guiding them into Womanhood. When the college came to an end 64 years later, she struggled to find her purpose; a Camp and Convention centre, an Art and Makers space, the possibility of being developed into a Lifestyle village, these all fell short, leaving Constance lonely.

Constance is returning to her Purpose, a transformation into Temporary housing and Recovery centre, for Women who have been through the Crisis of Domestic Violence. 24% of Australia’s Homeless is due to implications of Domestic Violence, a huge gap existing between Crisis Centres and Public or Low-Cost Housing.

Supplying a place of Safety and comfort that is welcoming with a sense of “HOME” and belonging, providing holistic facilities for health and wellbeing, encouraging community interaction.