The Presidents' Award 2015 - Winners
The winner of the 2015 Presidents’ Award for church architecture was announced at a ceremony attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at Westminster Cathedral Hall on 5th November 2015.
The reinstatement of St Nicholas’ church, in Radford Semele, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire by architects Caroe & Partners won the 2015 Presidents ’ Award for new church architecture.
The judges said: “A rebuild and reorder after a fire. What was salvageable has been incorporated into the new building giving the design team a problem of how to span the roof over the remains of the North arcade. This has been inventively realised with a clever roof which gives its axis at right angles to the main East focus. The new work speaks for itself in an unassertive way; it is in sympathy with existing materials and scale and is well detailed. “
Two schemes were awarded runner-up places; Our Lady of Lourdes, a new Roman Catholic church in Hungerford, Berkshire designed by Jeremy Bell Architects and a new extension to the 700 year old church building of Clare Priory in Suffolk, designed by architects Inkpen Downie.
Judges for awards were: Prince Nicholas von Preussen, HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, Richard Carr-Archer – National Churches Trust, Simon Dyson – Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, Eric Greber – Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, Anna Joynt – Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, Luke March – National Churches Trust, Mark Pearce – Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, Eddie Tulasiewicz – National Churches Trust
HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO presented the Presidents’ Award to Rev’d Martin Green from St Nicholas’ church. The award comprises a chalice and paten, commissioned by the Incorporated Church Building Society, and made after World War II, to be loaned to a new or seriously war damaged church. Today, the chalice and paten are lent to the winning parish to be held by them for the next twelve months. The winning church also received a £500 prize.
The Presidents’ Award is awarded on behalf of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association President and the National Churches Trust’s Joint Presidents, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. New church buildings and new designs in church re-ordering, alterations or extensions are eligible for The Presidents’ Award. The award is open to church buildings of all Christian denominations in the UK. This year, 25 entries were received for the Presidents’ Award, a record number, with eleven being shortlisted by the judging panel.
Judges were looking for:
• Innovation, invention and originality
• Fitness for use as a church, or part of a church building, in the 21st century
• Does the work have the potential to bring new life to the church?
• Architectural Quality
• Sensitivity to Context
• Elegance of Construction & Detail
Judges were also asked to consider to what extent the design is environmentally-responsible.
Winner: St Nicholas' church, Radford Semele, Warwickshire - Caroe & Partner
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.
Runner-up: Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Hungerford, Berkshire - Jeremy Bell Architects
A new Roman Catholic Church in Hungerford.
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.
Jeremy Bell, JBKS Architects, Suite 1 Parkwood Stud, London Road, Aston Rowant
Runner-up: Clare Priory, Clare, Suffolk - 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 South 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 West elevation and extensive use of brick in english garden wall bond and traditional lime mortar to the South and East 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.
Inkpen Downie, 2 Balkerne House, Balkerne Passage, Colchester