Presidents' Award 2017 - reordering, extensions or alteration to church buildings - Shortlist


Two shortlists have been announced for the 2017 Presidents' Award for new church architecture, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust. 

Three entries have been shortlisted for the reordering, extensions or alteration to church buildings category. (The shortlist of four entries for new church buildings can be seen here.)

  • Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead, London - Creation of community space
  • St Anne, Soho, London - New entrance
  • St Mary the Virgin, Sutton Valence, Kent - New kitchen, toilet, and access

Photographs and more details can be found below.

The Presidents' Award will be awarded to the winning scheme in each of the two categories.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

“I’m delighted at the quality and range of the projects entered for the 2017 Church Architecture Awards which show clearly how church architecture makes a major contribution to the visual landscape of villages, towns and cities. This year our shortlist includes stunning modern buildings, highly creative solutions to repair and conservation work, and projects which reinterpret and bring back to life existing churches.  Our judges really are spoilt for choice and I look forward to the winners being announced on 26 October 2017.”  

Awards ceremony

The architects and the schemes judged to be the winners in each of the two categories will be announced by HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO ARIBA at an awards ceremony at St Mellitus College, London SW5 on Thursday 26 October 2017. Also at the awards, Prince Nicholas von Preussen will announce the 2017 winner of the King of Prussia Gold Medal for church repair and conservation architecture.

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. Projects are eligible if they have been completed within the last three years or after the Practical Completion stage in their development. 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.

The award comprises a chalice and paten, commissioned by the Incorporated Church Building Society, and made after World War II, originally to be loaned to a new or seriously war damaged church. This year, the chalice and paten will be lent to the two winning parishes to be held by them for six months each.  The two winning churches will each receive a £500 prize.

2017 judging

In selecting the winning entries, judges will be considering the following criteria.

•    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

Judges are also asked to consider to what extent the design is environmentally responsible.

Judges for the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association

Prince Nicholas von Preussen, Patron EASA; Russell Trudgen, President, EASA; Roger Molyneux,Vice President EASA; Anna Joynt, EASA Awards officer; Mark Pearce, EASA Secretary. 

Judges for the National Churches Trust

HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO ARIBA, Vice Patron; Luke March, DL, Chairman; Richard Carr-Archer, Trustee; Eddie Tulasiewicz, Head of Communications.

The 2017 shortlisted entries are listed below in alphabetical order.

Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead, London - Creation of community space

Architect - Donald Insall Associates
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Main Contractor GB Group, Structural Engineer STAND Structural Engineering.

Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead, London, is an Edwardian Gothic Revival church designed by the architect J.A. Thomas, built in 1897. In 1968, a meeting room with a flat roof was installed in the south aisle reflecting changing needs of the parish, with a WC and small kitchen area fitted in the south west porch. More recently, parts of the parquet floor had become so buckled that level changes of around 100mm were evident in various parts of the church, limiting the use of these areas.

Donald Insall Associates (DIA) were instructed to provide options for repairing the uneven main floor, to make all areas of the church floor accessible. Following an increase in demand from local groups for spaces to hire, further community rooms were required. The kitchen and toilet facilities required updating to include a new accessible toilet, together with level access from an entrance porch. DIA assessed the significance of the building and used this knowledge as the basis for the new interventions, balancing careful conservation against sensitive new insertions in locations of lower historic impact.

The existing floor slab throughout the nave, aisles and narthex was removed and replaced with a new slab on over 30 new piles, installed over a void to allow for future clay movement, with new underfloor heating installed to replace the inefficient wall mounted perimeter heaters.

The footprint of the current community room was used as a basis for the new proposals, and by installing a further community room of the same footprint in the opposite aisle this restored a much needed balance to the nave. New metal staircases provide access to two additional large community rooms at first floor level.

The larger kitchen was essential for the ongoing viability of the church, and was installed within the ground floor of the south aisle next to the accessible toilet, leaving a smaller community room adjacent. The accessible toilet provides WC facilities for those in the parish with special mobility requirements, together with a baby changing station, and a shower for use during homeless charity events.

A new internal access ramp with an original tile design finish was installed to the Northeast porch, to replace the existing short, steep concrete ramp. New railings and gates were fitted to the narthex arched openings, to provide a secure way to separate access to the main body of the church. The brick masonry walls and arch infills are an honest and sensitive intervention, which match the surrounding walls forming a permanent art of the buildings story. New oak joinery reflects the original door leaf designs, complete with bespoke leaded glazing and handles.

Emmanuel Church has improved its ongoing viability by repairing the structural stability of the floor, creating four new community rooms and greatly improved facilities and access. As well as the new community rooms, facilities and finishes, the church is once again able to take tremendous pride and pleasure in all these spaces.

  • iew to the Narthex, with completed community rooms to either aisle and railings to narthex.

  • New community room to south ailse

  • New masonry walls forming upper community room

  • New door with traditional leadwork and bespoke ironmongery

St Anne, Soho, London - New Entrance

Architect - Upchurch Associates, including students at Central St Martins Sherief Al Rifa'i & Lina Viluma.
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Russel Valentine, Bewley Construction.

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.

Successive rectors had tried to improve the entrance to make it more visible and welcoming, but with limited success. Too often people failed to notice the church was here and were not enticed in if they found it.

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. Having launched a competition with architecture students from Central St Martins College to design a new entrance he found himself presented with seven different and highly original schemes. A public consultation was held and members of the local community together with church members, children from the local school, community hall users and Church and DAC officials chose a winning design.

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 corridor is half lined with oak panelling with an integrated hand rail which connects aesthetically with the oak panelling of the church. Suspended angled ceiling panels created interest and diffuse light into the space, whilst illuminated recessed display cases lead the eye down the corridor. At the entrance oak benches sit beneath a large cross of light which scrolls through the spectrum.

The look is bright, clean and modern, accessible and inviting.

The first impact is that people looking for St Anne's are now finding the church and countless people have reported that having passed the old entrance repeatedly had never realised it was a church. More people are coming into the church as a result, as well as stopping to photograph the entrance (frequently saying "wow, this looks amazing vicar!") or pausing to press their hands into the handprints on the doorplates. It has given the congregation a stronger sense of identity and confidence and, particularly with the use of neon and the cross of light, St Anne's now feels like a church designed for this community.

  • Redesigned entrance

  • Original entrance

  • Entrance detail

  • Trying out the push plates

St Mary the Virgin, Sutton Valence, Kent - New kitchen, toilet, and access

Architect - Thomas Ford and Partners

Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved
Brian Wallis of Riverside Construction Company Limited, Tonbridge.

The addition of a kitchenette, wheelchair accessible WC with new drainage and access ramp were identified by the parish of St Mary the Virgin Church in Sutton Valence, Kent, as being vital to ensure the future of their rural church. The challenge was to design these modern facilities to be utilised as efficiently as possible without compromising the cohesive 19th century interior of the Grade II listed church.

Early in the design process, the decision was made to locate the kitchenette in the nave of the church. Although it is more conventional to house kitchens in separate rooms in the back of churches, the chosen location allows parishioners to assemble after functions within the nave, without having to walk long distances. This is also practical when serving refreshments, as the need to carry heavy trays of boiling water is eliminated.

The addition of the kitchenette in the nave means that an inclusive social space is created, with parents able to keep an eye on their children in the nave’s play area.The kitchenette’s location meant that a very high level of design and quality craftsmanship were necessary. The kitchenette is housed in two symmetrical oak cupboards, allowing the kitchen units to be out of view during services. The panelled detailing reflects the surrounding joinery, and the cupboards therefore become a positive addition to the nave. The simple, folding cupboard doors, easy to use and upkeep, were designed specifically with the ever changing, and sometimes elderly, end user in mind.

Finally, a moveable servery is housed in one of the cupboards, which, when pushed in front of the adjacent kitchen units, creates a flexible serving station for tea, coffee and cake.

A new ramp sits adjacent to the oak kitchenette cupboards. Its handrail is fixed to an oak bookcase, which not only stores hymn books but also conceals the new radiators. The oak bookcase has been panelled in a similar style to the kitchenette cupboards, further creating a harmonious picture in the nave. The ramp was a vital piece of the scheme, as it now allows wheelchair users to access the west end of the church, where the new wheelchair accessible WC is located.

The new toilet facility was much needed as the church previously did not have one. This was primarily as connection to the main public sewer would have been very difficult and costly. The solution was to construct a trench arch drainage system, which is an ecological, sustainable system that is easy to maintain, cost efficient and has minimal impact on the archeologically sensitive burials in the churchyard.

The interventions at St Mary’s may be minimal, but they were done so in an effective and efficient manner that greatly benefits the parishioners in their everyday lives whilst adding character and charm to this beautiful rural church. The scheme is designed to help the church to thrive for many decades to come, thereby securing its future within the community.

  • Kitchenette Units closed and open

  • Kitchenette in use

  • WC under the stairs

  • Ramp with bookcase balustrade