Mary Queen of the Family


In order to accommodate the rapidly growing Catholic population in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Franck & Lohsen was asked to design a very large and unique church. At the request of the Bishop, this new 3,000 seat basilica was based upon early Christian and Byzantine precedents. A large dome, visible for miles, would cover the centrally-located altar and sanctuary. The striped stone exterior and cascade of smaller dome is a striking historic fusion of Eastern and Western Christian architecture.

The project started with a master plan of the site, including locations for the church, parish offices, catechetical classroom spaces, and underground parking. To ensure that this new church was welcoming to the community, a café and gardens on the site were to be open to all visitors.

The centralized plan was modeled after a rose, resulting in a church that can accommodate many worshipers yet still be proportioned so as to provide an intimate and sacred experience. The rose plan is particularly fitting given the basilica’s intended dedication to Our Lady, Queen of the Family. A circular ambulatory located midway within the plan allows for the flow of pilgrims and connects to multiple small chapels.

In order to fully serve a diverse and growing population of immigrants, the basilica contains many chapels, each dedicated to a different local incarnation of Our Lady. These chapels are arranged around the central sanctuary, enlivening the experience of walking through the church while providing venues for smaller Masses and private veneration.