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Presidents' Award Winner 2015

The 2015 Presidents' Award for new church architecture is awarded to St. Nicholas' Church, Radford Semele for the works by Caroe & Partners.


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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