Presidents' Award Winners 2017

The 2017 Presidents' award for New Church Buildings was awarded to Acanthus Clews for the New Church hall at St John the Baptist, Burford.

Two projects were Highly Commended by the judges.

The Belarusian Memorial Chapel, Woodside Park, London - Spheron Architects.

The Belarusian Memorial Chapel is the first wooden church built in London since the Great Fire of 1666. Designed by Spheron Architects, the chapel in Woodside Park has been built for the Belarusian diaspora community in the UK, and is dedicated to the memory of victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Donhead School Chapel, Wimbledon, London - Phillips Tracey Architects

Phillips Tracey Architects updated and extended Donhead Preparatory School in Wimbledon to incorporate four new classrooms, an auditorium, a double height art room and a 50 seat chapel. The Chapel is the centrepiece of the new work. The main south façade is enriched by the new extension and hints at the schools Jesuit identity


The 2017 Presidents' award for Reordering Alterations or Extensions to Church Buildings is awarded to Upchurch Associates, Sherief Al Rifa’I & Lina Viluma for the works to the entrance at St Anne's Church, Soho

One scheme was Highly Commended by the judges:

Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead, London - Creation of new community space – Donald Insall Associates.

Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead, London, is an Edwardian Gothic Revival church designed by the architect J.A. Thomas, built in 1897. Architects Donald Insall Associates have improved the church’s ongoing viability by repairing the structural stability of the floor, creating four new community rooms and greatly improved facilities and access.



St John the Baptist, Burford, Oxfordshire (new church hall)

Acanthus Clews


St John the Baptist Church in Burford undertook a bold redevelopment project at Warwick Hall to unite the church and local community through the building of a new church community facility. The brief for the architects Acanthus Clews was to extend and adapt the listed but dilapidated church hall to provide a new flexible space capable of hosting a varied programme of community activities including a day centre for the elderly, as well being an alternative space for worship and prayer.

A key objective was to deliver a place within the town for the church and the community to come  together which is epitomised by the new community café in the heart of the new building. The challenge was to deliver a new confident church community facility within one of the most historically sensitive and restricted church settings nationally.

Almost half of the buildings energy demand is met through renewable sources from a ground source heat pump heating and cooling system that crucially reduces operating costs for future generations.

The judges said: “The building contributes to the setting of the existing Grade I listed church as well as to life of the community it serves. The plan is deceptively simple, but carefully designed so that worship and support spaces can be subdivided or used together to accommodate a number of different activities all under one roof. The qualities of light and material within the hall and cafe make these attractive spaces which clearly appeal not only the regular church-goers but to local people and visitors. This was a complex project very well resolved.”








St Anne, Soho, London - New entrance

Upchurch Associates, including students at Central St Martins Sherief Al Rifa'i & Lina Viluma


St Anne's was consecrated in 1686, destroyed in the blitz of 1940 and rebuilt as multi-purpose chapel and community hall in 1991. A shortage of funds at the time meant that St Anne's main entrance, in a facade of shops and offices on Dean street, was simply furnished with heavy iron gates leading a dark featureless corridor.
In 2014 the present Rector, Rev'd Simon Buckley, set to change this state of affairs with a vision for a church that was eye catching, open and welcoming - one which connected with the character of Soho.
The design by Shereif Al Rifa'i and Lina Viluma replaced the iron gates with sleek glass doors, over which the name of the church is written in bold white neon lighting (very Soho!). The doors bear 'push plates' in cold cast aluminium embossed with hand prints cast from members of the community. The look is bright, clean and modern, accessible and inviting.

The judges said: “We were delighted by this small scheme which brings a sense of style and fun to the entrance of St Anne's church in Soho. The involvement of architecture students from Central St Martin's from the start of the project has clearly paid off by bringing, as it has, a fresh artistic eye to the design of this new foyer. The design has a strong idea but has also been carefully refined, employing subtle geometries in the ceiling and joinery. These elements have been combined with a striking lighting scheme to make a dynamic and inviting entrance to the church.”




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