UK Church Architecture Awards 2019

Published: Friday, September 27, 2019


The shortlists for the 2019 UK Church Architecture Awards have been announced.

The winners of the Presidents' Award and the King of Prussia Gold Medal will be announced at a special ceremony which will be held at St Mary Magdalene's church in Paddington, London on 31 October 2019. At the awards ceremony, the name of the 2019 UK Young Church Architect and Surveyor will be revealed.

You can see photos of the shortlisted gallery on Flickr and at the bottom of this page.

The Awards are run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association.

The Presidents’ Award

Seven projects have been shortlisted for the Presidents’ Award.  It 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.

The Presidents’ Award is awarded for the best new church architecture: new church buildings and new design in re-ordering, alteration, or extension.

 Judges look 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 and detail

Projects are eligible if they have been completed within the last three years or after the Practical Completion stage in their development. The award is open to church buildings of all Christian denominations in the UK.

1.  Bethnal Green Mission Church

305 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9LH

Architects - Gatti Routh Rhodes

Bethnal Green Mission Church (BGMC) forms the heart of an elegant new urban block, which includes a community centre and café alongside 14 apartments. The church itself is a double height volume, with a stepped section that creates discrete side aisles. The ceiling is defined by diagonal ribs of in-situ concrete, referencing the tradition of vaulted church ceiling.

The building replaces a 1950’s structure with severe maintenance issues and accessibility challenges. The new community spaces borrow daylight and volume through overlapping sections to generate generous, light flooded spaces despite a complex brief and tight site. They enable the church (directly and in partnership with others) to continue their tradition of serving the community, where they support a wide range of groups including the homeless, trafficked women, disadvantaged youth and interfaith work.

2. Christ Church, Kensington

Victoria Road, London W8 5RQ

Architects - Sheppard Architects

In 2012, the vicar approached Sheppard Architects for ideas about improving the building. He had identified the need to repair and restore this Grade II listed church and to adapt, improve and extend it to meet the usual needs of a 21st century church It was recognized that all could not be achieved in one go and a phased approach was adopted.

Phase 1 – The west end interior 2015. Reinstate a west end gallery

Phase 2 – Re roofing and stone repairs 2016/17

Phase 3 – The east end interior 2017. The church has close links with the local school who use it for weekly assemblies and many concerts and events. The church also has a strong music tradition and hosted many other concerts. The existing space under the nave now accommodate a new electrical/mechanical rising stage.

Phase 4 – Rebuilding the mews wall to create new educational edible garden

Phase 5 – Completion of the interior restoration 2018

Phase 6 – New memorial garden 2019

3. St Andrew’s church, Holborn

5 St Andrew Street EC4A 3AF

Architects -  DaeWha Kang Design

The regeneration of this Grade I listed Christopher Wren church has created a more serene, welcoming, and numinous space for worship. The building was heavily damaged in the war and the rebuilt interior was in need of consolidation and refocusing. This includes creating a west to east movement from water to light, birth to death and rebirth, and genesis to revelation. A quiet baptistery at the west end creates a setting for the baptismal font. The main feature is a geometric stone floor that takes its pattern from some of Wren’s early mathematical works.

We mark the east end with a gilt brass tabernacle and a setting for the high altar. In contrast to the circular designs of the baptistery, the tabernacle forms a series of nested cubes. In the north aisle a Lady Chapel has been created, taking inspiration from Mary Star of the Sea. A large brass reredos and perforated side screens create a quiet space of contemplation and reflection.

4. St Augustine’s church, Hammersmith

55 Fulham Palace Road, W6 8AU

Architects - Roz Barr Architects

A project to re-order, re-use, and adapt a family of buildings on a congested site in West London. The project includes the restoration of the existing historic church and priory (1914-1916) and the erection of a new Augustinian Centre. The first phase of the project was to restore and refurbish the Edwardian church. Precise interventions like the reorganisation of the sanctuary with a reclaimed green marble floor and a cast iron light fitting lend a new spiritual and emotional identity to the congregation. New sacred spaces include confessionals and a re-ordered sanctuary, as well as items such as new lecterns, candle stands and a tabernacle. The collaboration between art and architecture has been a strong theme within the project.

 5. St Mary Magdalene's church

Rowington Close, Paddington, London, W2 5TF

Architects - Dow Jones Architects

This project has created a new arts and community centre for this Grade I Listed Victorian church and opened the building up to the community for wider uses. The new building contains a café and education room as well as WCs and staff offices, and brings access to the refurbished undercroft too. The challenge for the new building was for it to not be mistaken as an extension of the existing church, to be inviting to people who might find the architectural language of the church forbidding, and at the same time to have an appropriately responsive architectural language. It is greatly influenced by the original church but has its own clear identity.

6. St Nicholas’ church

Church Street, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge, CB21 5AG

Architects - Archangel Ltd

The church of St Nicholas in Great Wilbraham is a Grade II* listed 12th century Anglican church. The original building was remodelled by the Knights Templar in the 13th century in a cruciform plan and the west tower was added in the 15th century. A new WC and kitchen were installed in the base of the tower to enable the church to cater for a wider range of community activities. A new Ringing Gallery was installed above this, reinstating a gallery removed by the Victorians, accessed by a stair in the nave.

7. St Peter's church  

Petersham Road, Petersham, Richmond, TW10 7AA

Architects - Hugh Cullum Architects

The simple brief for the project was to provide much-needed meeting spaces, WC and catering facilities in an extension to the church. This was a great challenge given the bucolic setting of the Georgian Church which hasn’t changed significantly since it was shown in Turner’s view from Richmond Hill of 1820. The only feasible site, preserving key views of the Church, was a space between the end of the south transept and a house on the churchyard boundary.

A gap between the church and the new building, connected by a minimal glass link, forms a sliver of outdoor courtyard for the new parish room and retains visibility and breathing space to the transept windows. The single new window facing the churchyard is screened with triangular honeycomb tiles to minimise the sense of overlooking. The entrance, into the glass link, is covered with a pierced metal screen bearing the words ‘All Are Welcome’. When in use it folds back to reveal the entry door. The new building provides a wheelchair accessible WC and, crucially, disabled access to the church down a gentle ramp.

The King of Prussia Gold Medal

Five projects have been shortlisted for the King of Prussia Gold Medal.

The King of Prussia Gold Medal is awarded for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work projects.

Judges look for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work that has successfully overcome a major aesthetic or technical challenge.

The award is open to the architect or chartered surveyor on any scheme of repair for a church or chapel of any Christian denomination in the UK, in use for regular worship, and over one hundred years old. The scheme must have been funded by a grant or loan from the National Churches Trust, or would have been eligible for such a grant or loan, and have been completed within the last three years.

1. St John the Baptist church

Brickfield Road, Outwood, RH1 5QX

Architects - Thomas Ford & Partners

St John the Baptist’s Church is a small rural church and is one of the lesser known buildings designed by the architect William Burges consisting of a nave and chancel. The recently completed conservation and repair project has been the result of five years’ research and trials culminating in a project that has safeguarded the future of the building. The solution arrived at appeared simple but was technically demanding and aesthetically bold, and this was to render the church.

Pierra Ltd won the contract to undertake the work during the summer of 2018. This proved to be the hottest year since 1976 which gave real issues of protecting the lime render, managing the curing process and safe working conditions. Some twelve months on, the new render has blended completely with the trial undertaken four years earlier, and the church is already settling back into the landscape.

2. St Margaret’s church

Thimbleby, LN9 5RG

Architects - PPIY Architects

This project followed the removal of the church spire in 2013. Planning permission stipulated that the spire must be re-built within 3 years.  The key issue was to try to understand why the spire had failed so dramatically.

The church is built of both Spilsby sandstone (or greenstone as it is known locally) and Ancaster Limestone. Two reports were commissioned from David Jefferson, a building material scientist. It was clear that there was a major chemical reaction taking place in the stone. Following historical research it was realised that the mortar and its reaction with the stone and the brick was the most likely cause of the presence of salts and the deterioration of the building. To re-build it was clear that the tower would have to be taken down to below belfry level. At this point a difficult decision and quite a radical decision was made. Any old stone put back would contaminate new stone and the pattern of decay would continue. At low level rainwater runoff would mean that salts would be carried but if a physical barrier was created at a single point, it would be possible to protect the stone above, assuming that it was all new stone. From a conservation perspective this was a difficult decision as it meant that in the long term it would help the buildings longevity.

Work began in 2018 and by Nov 2018 the spire was re-built with the final stone lifted in to place by crane in a topping out ceremony.

3. St Mary’s church

High Street, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, HP18 9AL

Architects - Acanthus Clews Architects

The repair and conservation of the chancel to St Mary’s. This conservation programme was critically required to address radical structural movement to the chancel and thus save the fabric which had been placed on the Heritage at Risk Register. The church has now been removed from the At Risk Register and all involved in the maintenance of the church know that the walls can now “breathe” easily. However structural monitoring remains in place to ensure that no further movement in the walls remains undetected – readings for the last three years have shown that the fabric has now stable.

4. St Mary the Virgin

Church Lane, Marden, Herefordshire, HR1 3EN

Architects - Caroe and Partners

The church of St Mary the Virgin, Marden, is a Grade I listed building situated in a peaceful location on the east bank of the River Lugg and is surrounded by farmland. The present church was built around 1240. Due to its pilgrimage connections, it is unusually large for such a small village. The tower was added around 1340.

In 2013 the PCC resolved to restore the derelict bell tower. The bells had remained silent since it was determined that they were unsafe to ring due to the rotting timbers within the tower, especially those supporting the bell frame housing a ring of six ancient bells. In addition it was decided that the entire tower from spire to ground floor should also be restored. Work began in December 2015 and the restored bells were finally commissioned in May 2016. The new bells were blessed by the Bishop of Hereford at a church service in July 2016. In addition to restoration work on the bells, when all components parts were renewed, significant work was carried out on each of the other three floors.

5. St Michael’s church

Kirkby Thore, Penrith, CA10 1UP

Architects - JABA Architect Ltd

A Grade II* church dating from the 12th Century, restored in late 19th Century. On the At Risk Register and in deteriorating condition with wet and rotten floors, a 200m outward lean on south wall, sunken arcade, extensive cracking, condensation and algae growth, widespread woodworm activity and eroding sandstone externally.

The combination of replacement drainage, guttering and repointing has significantly reduced the moisture within the building. The introduction of 150mm of mineral wool into roof voids, and a number of night storage heaters has reduced humidity further and over time improved the thermal performance of the walls. A virtuous cycle has been established and the condensation which was a major problem has now disappeared.