Presidents' Award 2017 for new church buildings - Winners


The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO ARIBA presented the award for the winner of the Presidents’ Award for new church architecture: St John the Baptist, Burford, Oxfordshire and Acanthus Clews Architects for a new church hall.

The Presidents’ Award, a chalice and paten, is shared with the winner of the Presidents' Award for reordering, alterations and extensions. The two winning churches each received a £500 prize.

St John the Baptist, Burford

St John the Baptist church undertook a dramatic redevelopment project to unite the church and local community through the building of a new church hall. The brief for the architects Acanthus Clews was to extend and adapt the listed but dilapidated church hall to provide a new flexible space for worship and capable of hosting a varied programme of community activities.

A key objective was to deliver a place within the town for the church and the community to come together. 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 building’s 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.

Acanthus Clews

Acanthus Clews Architects are an award winning RIBA chartered practice with a national portfolio. They have a reputation for specialist conservation architecture and creative contemporary design, and sensitive, bespoke solutions reflecting the unique context of every site. Conservation awards include the SPAB John Betjeman Award.

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.”

Highly Commended 

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. Tszwai So, project architect, was the winner of the Young Church Architect or Surveyor of the Year 2017

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.