Presidents' Award Shortlisted Nominees 2015

Eleven projects have been shortlisted for the 2015 Presidents' Award for new church architecture award, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust. The shortlisted entries are listed below in alphabetical order of place name. In 2015, 25 entries were received, a record number.
• Bolton, All Souls Church
• Clare, Clare Priory
• Fenham, St James & St Basil’s Church
• Frampton-on-Severn, St Mary the Virgin
• Houston, Houston & Killellan Kirk
• Hungerford, Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church
• Kingston-upon-Thames, All Saints’ Church
• London, Euston Road, Friends House
• London, Spitalfields, Christ Church
• Radford Semele, St Nicholas’ Church
• Spalding, St John the Baptist’s Church

Bolton, All Souls Church

OMI Architects


The Grade II* listed All Souls’ Church was completed in 1881 and designed by renowned Victorian church architects, Paley & Austin, whose brief was to create a parish church for mill workers capable of seating a congregation of 800. Aside from its religious purpose, All Souls’ served as a cornerstone of local activity for over 100 years until changes in local demographic and worshipping practices caused All Souls to close in 1986, when the building was passed into the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT). The new project is a joint partnership between the CCT and the local community, who set up ‘All Souls Bolton’, to manage the building. With a construction budget of £3.0 million All Souls’ is CCT’s biggest ever regeneration project. The brief was to create a community facility within the body of the church with a programme of spaces including classrooms, business units, exhibition and event space, café and conference facilities. Coupled with these requirements All Souls has been kept consecrated and is used as a place of Anglican Christian worship on a monthly basis. The response was to create visually contrasting insertions, or ‘pods’ that would not only provide the range of spaces outlined in the brief, but would also add to the appreciation of the Church, preserving its key characteristics. This idea drives the fractured, sculptural forms that ‘unfold’ as you move through the building, setting up a range of visual cameos framing different elements of new and old. Whilst the new accommodation is extensive, the central aisle retains its strong visual dominance, with a clear view from the west doors to the stained glass windows at the east end. This ‘cone of vision’ established 2 structures either side of the central axis of the Church. Using a series of open walkways, which give access to the pods, visitors are able to get up close to the existing architecture. The plan places classroom and let-able units in the larger three-storey structure on the south side of the central aisle. On the north side, an elevated pod houses the main conference/ multi use space, accessed via a grand staircase. The two pods are connected at first floor via glazed bridges. In tandem with the conversion, a £1 million historic repair project took place, overseen by historic building surveyors, Alan Gardner Associates, which included the complete re-roofing of the church, the repair and replacement of over 50% of the leaded windows and extensive masonry repairs.

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Clare, Clare Priory

Inkpen Downie


The church was lovely, venerable but long, tall and narrow entirely unsuited to the modern day liturgy, it was also inadequate to accommodate the many who wish to worship at Clare. We looked to the green space outside the building for room to develop the worship space, with the original volume acting as a portal, ante-space and baptistry. The geometry of the original building has been retained. The flood plain dictated that the extension floor level should be raised above that of the mediaeval building. This elevated plane projects into the existing building, so that the transition to the new space starts by rising a few steps, continuing by proceeding through the new arcade, and entering the worship space opposite the altar. From the east and west the extension is mainly glass and deliberately understated. Views are available from the front of the building straight through to the trees behind. To the S. the wall is solid, executed in brick and stone which wraps around the corner for a short way to form a solid block or gable that reflects the architecture of the original building. The extension sits on a piled raft foundation to ensure minimal disruption of any possible archaeology that might exist. Structurally, old and the new never meet, the extension is entirely freestanding, with projecting glass panels forming the connection with the existing fabric. Internal finishes are simple, a stone flag floor, painted plaster walls and ceilings as a foil to the rich texture of the existing rubble walls that enclose the extended space on two sides. The roof is formed of a curved timber and steel principal beams. The liturgical furniture is predominately formed from stone monoliths in the same limestone as the arcade dressings. Outside there is dressed stonework to the new W. elevation and extensive use of brick in english garden wall bond and traditional lime mortar to the S. and E. The shallow roof is clad in zinc that will develop a dull grey patina. The large areas of glazing are screened by vertical oak blades or louvres which will weather naturally to a natural silver grey. The new building is intended to be unobtrusive without being retiring, it is contemporary without being strident. It respects the scale of its historic setting but still manages to provide for modern requirements. The buildings at Clare have evolved over more than 700 years, these new alterations to the church are intended to ensure that this evolution continues and does not diminish.

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Fenham, St James & St Basil’s Church

Kiosk Architecture and Design


The parish church of St. James and St. Basil was built for the district of Fenham in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1927 – 31 by George Jack and Eric Edward Lofting. The grouped church, hall, vicarage and garden were paid for by Sir James Knott, a wealthy ship owner and philanthropist, in memory of two of his sons killed in the war. Historian Neil Moat describes it as ‘one of the most significant late arts and crafts churches in England’. The Church of England building and hall are Grade II listed. A wider Mission Action Plan developed by the church sought, amongst other goals, to develop the musical life of the church, to grow in congregational size and to create space for hospitality. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) concluded that a modern kitchen inside the main church building was necessary with state of the art equipment that would reflect this thinking. The proposal developed in response to an earlier and spatially more intrusive idea and tucks the kitchen into the recess of an alcove in the side nave near the rear entrance to the church. When not in use, the design is a discreet piece of furniture that respects, reflects and compliments the interior of the church whilst not denying its contemporary origin. When in use it creates an inviting environment with modern appliances that enables the church to serve hot drinks and food. Folding doors cover the entire front of the kitchen and wall units. The partition of these doors reflects the five-pronged stone feature of the alcove behind. The folding doors feature a Walnut timber frame, handles and fascias and a green/golden and patterned fabric for the lining of the door panels. The interior of the existing church is very much dominated by the use of stone and plaster for the structural elements and oak timber panelling for most of the infill elements. The design was inspired by the use of fabric behind the altar, by the use of golden lettering throughout the church and by the treatment of the ceiling with a green/golden paint. The materials and colours of the panel doors introduced an element with such a warm and comforting effect in this, more sober part of the church. Upon opening the kitchen reveals a seamless worktop and white panelled kitchen and wall units and appliances. Strip lighting located underneath the wall units lights the entire work surface. Architect / Designer - Kiosk Architecture & Design; Furniture maker - Nick James Design; All interior photographs- Jill Tate Photography

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Frampton-on-Severn, St Mary the Virgin

John C Goom


St Mary's is a grade II* church located in a beautiful Severnside village. There are many visitors to the village and the church and there was the need for toilet facilities for them and also for those attending services at the church -Sunday services, weekly prayer meeting, baptisms, weddings and funerals. The project involved a small extension being built onto the north side and a kitchen corner was installed to allow community projects to be held; art and flower festivals, school experience days, music concerts etc. The photo of the end of the kitchen area shows how the carpenter incorporated a pew end and carved a repeat to reflect this original one. This year the church celebrated the 700th anniversary of its consecration and the new facilities were much admired by our many visitors to all the events.





Houston, Houston & Killellan Kirk

Jewitt & Wilkie


Background: Houston church, the third on the site since the 8th century, was built in the 1870’s to serve a population of about 1700. In recent years the population has expanded to about 6,700 and additional facilities are required to serve the church and the local community. In particular there was a need to update the church facilities to meet current health and safety and disability legislation. Design and Building: The shape and form of the annexe was constrained by guidance from Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Planning Department such that it could not be higher or wider than the existing church and the footprint could not exceed 50% of the existing plan area, coupled with adopting same roof pitch. Building over the existing graveyard had some precedents with other churches so a system of driven piles, avoiding the gravestones, was adopted and implemented to provide the essential foundation system. An archaeological survey was carried out prior to any building work starting. To overcome the difficulties of linking a simple building form with the main wall of the east gable, it was agreed with the planning authority to partly demolish the 1938 organ loft tower and the vestry and the resultant space to be contained at ground level within the form of the new building. This area was designed as a full height glazed atrium providing natural light to the east window of the church, and will be used to display historic local and kirk artefacts. The accommodation now provided includes on the ground floor a large hall which is capable of multi-use, kitchen, male, female and accessible toilets, vestry and access to a lift from an entrance hall, separate from the church allowing the annexe to be used independently. The upper floor provides a large hall and equivalent toilet accommodation as the ground floor. There is also a large storage space within the remaining roof void, as well as storage within the eaves, to take full advantage of the building form. The choice of external materials was subject to agreement from Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Planning, and the annexe has been designed to the highest environmental standards to minimise energy usage.
Outcome: The annexe, which was completed in April 2015, has enabled the Sunday school to meet at the same time as the morning service, together with a crèche for younger children. The halls will be available for both church and local organisations to use during week days.

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Hungerford, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

Jeremy Bell, JBKS Architects


A new Roman Catholic Church in Hungerford – a contemporary witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Lady of Lourdes church in Hungerford started life as a simple corrugated iron pre-fabricated building, erected in 1939. Seventy years later, the Roman Catholic congregation were ready to build a new church. JBKS Architects were appointed in 2006, on the basis of a plan showing a crescent of 14 houses for sale, to pay for the new church in the centre point of the arc. The buildings were designed on a red-bricked Arts and Crafts theme, with purposefully pulled down eaves to the houses and steep roofs to the church. The church plan is compact, the worship space square, at the back of which is a transverse hall separated by a sparkling fully glazed screen. The high structure is a stunning combination of drama and simplicity, with a limited pallet of gluelam beams, white plastered walls and ceilings, plate glass, and stone coloured tiles. The roof is held up by huge longitudinal purlins spanning 12m. Between the church and the hall, and above the long plate glass partition, the tall glass partition was to be supported by steel mullions, clad in timber. Unexpectedly, the timber cladding was built much wider than intended, resulting in a dramatic substantial cross shaped structure, appearing to support the roof. It’s like God’s hand in the design, placing a cross, so central to His purpose for humanity, right in the middle of the church, holding it up. May the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Hungerford continue to be a message and a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for future generations. Jeremy Bell B.Arch. M.ed. RIBA JBKS Architects, August 2015

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Kingston-upon-Thames, All Saints Church

Ptolemy Dean Architects


The ancient parish of church of Kingston in south west London was once the crowing location of seven Saxon Kings. It was hard to imagine this two years ago. The church stood brooding in its churchyard surrounding by the modern gleaming shops of Kingston town centre. Inside the church was dark and unwelcoming. Remodelled in the mid 1970’s, it had a grey concrete floor, brown leatherette padded seats and an accumulation of furnishings that had been ‘gifted’ to it in a not altogether generous or charitable way. Although medieval the church had been largely re-faced in the C19th removing much of its ancient character. These works had included blocking the ancient north door and its natural connection towards Kingston town centre. Consequently a tree lined avenue led to a blank wall. A vestry, added in the 1920’s by Fesyhm(?) had become so soiled that for 20 years prior to the project proceeding, the building had been the subject of proposals for demolition. This scheme, supported by the HLF has sought to achieve the following: ? New level flooring for full access, utilising clay tiles, some of the medieval examples of which were uncovered during the works; ? New underfloor heating and relighting of the building; ? Re-opening of the north porch for visitor accessibility; ? New north porch to create a new focus to the tree avenue and to achieve a more welcoming aspect to the church; ? Reordering and redecoration of the church, including the replacement of frosted glass with clear glass, the reinstatement of the C19th pulpit discarded in the 1970’s, the installation of a new metal screen, new glazed lobbies for increased visibility, introduction of colour to the ceilings and walls and relocation of the font under the central crossing tower; ? Reroofing failed leas to the north aisle and stone repairs to the west and north spaces. In architectural terms, the key changes in this list, and the one with greatest visual effect has been the introduction of greater levels of natural daylight through the use of clear glass. This has transformed the church windows and also the glazed lobbies. The second greatest impact is the introduction of colour. Our medieval churches were once filled with colour and light. At Kingston a dark grey has now been replaced by a new palette of cream lime wash, terracotta tiles and some picking out the ceiling whose structure was too dark to appreciate in blue and gilding.

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London, Euston Road, Friends House

John McAslan + Partners


Friends House is the home of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. The Grade II building by Hubert Lidbetter won the RIBA Bronze Medal in 1927. The central space is the Large Meeting House, seating 1,100. Designed for Yearly Meeting (the annual gathering of Quakers), it is still used for this purpose once a year. Prior to our refurbishment, views of the stage were compromised, seats were uncomfortable and the balcony areas largely unused as they deterred full participation in worship or in secular events. The new scheme now responds to the needs of the Society of Friends, those with disabilities and other users. Our vision was to create a place that expresses the values of the Quakers in Britain and transformed the Large Meeting House into a versatile, accessible and sustainable space. The outreach and social programmes at Friends House offer a considerable resource to the local community of Camden and the Large Meeting House is hired out to student, community and political groups. The refurbished space removes an insensitively inserted ceiling, and the reconfiguration means that the space is now adaptable to suit a range of outreach work. The redesign creates a more coherent space, with unbroken raked seating now creating a more unified gathering space. The scheme facilitates use by those with disabilities – not just wheelchair users but also people with sight and hearing difficulties. The old ramped floor was non-DDA compliant, steps were uneven and cramped, and dated seating made access challenging, while the galleries were not accessible to all. Our design creates a larger flat-floored area at ground floor level with a flexible arrangement of the central area, making it possible to install cabaret type seating with tables, exhibition space, orchestral and dance events in the space as well as the conventional lecture-theatre layout. The team was inspired by the work of James Turrell, an American artist (and lifelong Quaker) acclaimed for his work with light and space. We have developed the rooflight design with reference to Turrell’s work – the new glass rooflight above the Large Meeting House evokes a powerful interplay, drawing the sky down into the heart of the renewed space. Our intention has been to create an atmosphere that reflects and expresses the values by which Quakers seek to live their lives based on equality, respect for the environment, justice, simplicity and peace.

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London, Spitalfields, Christ Church

Dow Jones Architects


The refurbishment of the crypt to make a performance space, cafe and gallery that connect to the site. In December 2008 we won an invited architectural design competition for the redevelopment of the crypt of Nicholas Hawksmoor's Grade 1 listed Church at Spitalfields. The crypt has been subdivided over time into a series of different rooms, and our proposal strips these out, re-unifiying the crypt as one space that relates to the volume of the church above. This allows natural light to enter the centre of the plan, with a series of new enclosures reading as insertions within the volume of the vaulted crypt. These new enclosures house the private or functional aspects of the brief, and are made of oak, responding to Hawksmoor's use of joinery in the church above to make the areas of inhabitation - stairs, window seats and balconies - that reconcile the giant order of the church with the human scale. A new ramped entrance on Commercial Street provides a new entrance into the crypt, connecting it more concretely to the city. The crypt also opens into the gardens on the south side of the church, which are being re-landscaped by Robert Myers Associates.

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Radford Semele, St Nicholas’ Church

Caroe & Partners (Project Architect: Dr Alex Veal RIBA AABC)


St Nicholas, Radford Semele, is a Parish Church in Warwickshire dating from the early 12th century. On Palm Sunday 2008, it was severely damaged by fire, resulting in the complete loss of the roof structure, windows, interior finishes, fixtures and fittings, as well as significant damage to the masonry structure. Following clearance and stabilisation of the Grade II-listed building, Caroe & Partners was appointed by the PCC as Architects for the project. The primary aim was to reinstate the building as a place of worship, but also to make alterations and improvements so that it might better serve the present and future needs of the community. In consultation with the congregation and local residents, Vicar, PCC, DAC, English Heritage, Victorian Society, Church Buildings Council, Local Authority, Archaeologist and others, the Architects developed an Options Appraisal that responded to the identified needs and to the significance of the surviving historic fabric. From this developed a final scheme for the building, which was designed and detailed by Caroe & Partners with the input of a wide range of consultants, including a Structural Engineer (FW Haywood Associates), M&E Engineer (Martin Thomas Associates), Lighting Designer (Light Perceptions), Glass Artists (Blount Stained Glass and Aidan McRae Thomson) and Quantity Surveyor (Starkey Button). The final design responds to the initial brief by combining careful conservation of the surviving fabric with new design. Most significantly, the nave and north aisle were opened up by removal of a structurally unstable part of the arcade, allowing the interior to be used in a much more flexible way. A glulam roof structure contributes to the open feel of the interior, with a reconfigured roof form and glazed gable to the north filling the interior with natural light. Additional facilities, including a kitchen, office, crèche/meeting space, vestry, bell-ringing gallery, toilets and flower room are incorporated variously within the existing church and in new extensions to the north. The latter are constructed using materials (local sandstone and clay tiles) similar to the existing, but in a way that clearly distinguishes them from the historic fabric. The works were carried out by the contractor Croft Building & Conservation, and completed in 2013. The re-opened building has returned to use as an active Parish Church and has since gained a new lease of life as a focus for worship and community activities.

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Spalding, St John the Baptist’s Church

The Whitworth Co-Partnership LLP


The project involved the comprehensive re-ordering of the interior of the Victorian church located in Spalding. The main emphasis of the scheme was to provide a flexible space to enable a wider range of uses for the congregation, the local community and enhance the churches worship. As part of the works the ranks of fixed pews were removed and the defective woodblock floor and thin lime base was replaced with a Limecrete slab laid over a recycled foamglass insulation and finished with solid Beech strip boarding. At the West end of the building simple limed Oak clad, timber framed structures were inserted to create a Lady Chapel and servery area within the South aisle, new West entrance lobby and storage cupboards within the Nave and The Langford Room (a choir robing room / parish office and meeting room), within the North aisle. The new structures were designed to slot into the aisles wrapping around the existing pillars in such a way to avoid compromising the original fabric of the church. The Oak cladding was formed of vertical planks of varied face widths to create a wave effect, which also served to conceal the number of solid doors set into the new structures. Another major element of the project was the total replacement of the electrical and heating services. A sophisticated computer controlled lighting scheme was integrated to provide the church with a number of different scenes for lighting the varied types of services and functions. The old visually intrusive heating system within the main body of the church was removed and a rationalized layout of new pipework and radiators was installed; the two old inefficient boilers serving the church were also replaced. The Victorian organ was taken apart, cleaned and re-tuned and a new computer controlled audio visual system was installed, controlled from a dedicated cupboard hidden within the structure of the Langford Room The total redecoration of the interior included removal of layers of emulsion paint to the pillars, door surrounds and West porch to expose the stonework once again; modern over decoration to the Reredos was carefully lifted off to expose and enable the conservation of the original colour scheme. The result of the re-ordering has been the transformation of a tired, dark and cluttered interior into a bright elegant space; the historic features of the church have been enhanced and the new facilities will be able to serve the ever changing needs of the community well into the future.

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