This rare project for a new church in Westminster was intended to serve four growing congregations. The challenge was not just the complexity and relationships of the worship and administration spaces, but the many other uses within the built form including a children’s library, private living accommodation and community uses.
The site is within a Conservation Area and the proposal would replace a post war building a fraction of its size. But the irregular land use in this residential area is not new there having been a large Victorian Gothic church on the site prior to the war, to which this design refers in both its size and form. The street also lost all the houses on the entire northern side to make way for the railway. Regardless Westminster Councillors lost electoral courage for this brave and exciting intervention and asked for a safe, brick box; a form and typology that was indeed alien to its historic narrative and GRID left the development of that proposal to anther practice.
The organic massing is partly due to the Rights to Light restrictions and the wish for a complex multi-use building to still reference the churches leadership, both within the local community and to be seen from farther afield. The architecture looks to the gothic perpendicular and pipe organs for iconography. The surface material of highly glazed, concave terracotta panels both support that inspiration and capitalise on the changing, warm and sharp evening and morning light crossing the principle facades. Accents of anodised aluminium on the terracotta panels, and dark brick to the rear and side facades, would also reflect light in vertical accents. Multi-faith community hall is on the ground floor and the worship space in the basement with indirect lighting from pavement lights.