Moving Mosaic Wins Engineer Award

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 26-9-2007

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney

Publication Place



Mr Elwyn Berchowitz, senior engineer for Meinhardt NSW was recognised this month for his work on The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus at the prestigious 2007 Engineering Excellence Awards.

The awards recognise the work of engineers who have been challenged with engineering problems which have required them to be innovative and creative. They 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 explains, “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 architectural heritage.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Mr Berchowitz as saying, “The project certainly ranks up there with some of the best I have been involved in and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when we finally got it all put in place again.” Keeli Cambourne, ‘Engineers Excellence Awards’, 24 September 2007, p.26.

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.