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The Presidents' Award 2018 shortlist


The shortlist has been announced for the 2018 Presidents' Award, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust. 

Six entries have been shortisted:

  • Church of St Mark, Clerkenwell-  New access ramp- ZRP Architects
  • Ealing Green Methodist Church, London- Renovation and extension of church- Potter Church & Holmes Architects Ltd
  • St Comghan's Chapel, Kilchoan- New chapel- GLM
  • St Mary's, Melton Mowbray - New servery, renovations and upgrades- Buttress
  • St Edmund King & Martyr Church, Southwold- Re-ordering and new facilities- Nicholas Jacob Architect
  • St Michael & All Angels, Summertown-  New extension- Adrian James Architects

Photographs and more details can be found below.

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 1 November 2018. Also at the Awards Ceremony, Prince Nicholas von Preussen will announce the 2018 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. The winning church will receive a £500 prize.

2018 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; Roger Molyneux, PresidentEASA ;Bob Thomspon, Vice President; Anna Joynt, Awards Officer; Bob Allies OBE; Founding Partner, Allies and Morrison and Guest Judge

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 2018 shortlisted entries are listed below

St Michael & All Angels, Summertown- New extension

Architects - Adrian James Architects

St Michael & All Angels is a curiosity: a splendid light-filled Victorian Gothic church, abruptly truncated by a raw brick wall because funds ran out.

A new front extension creates a new threshold for the church: a capacious new entrance hall plus all those ancillary spaces that were desperately needed like kitchen, toilets, stores and an office. But the new hall is not just a lobby; it is itself a lofty space filled with light and with its own special character. The huge top light and the circular timber crown in the ceiling give it a numinous quality as befits a true narthex. This is the space that mediates between the secular and the sacred.

The new addition doesn't try to hide the quirk of the buttressed brick west wall. It aims to resolve the conundrum of providing closure to a beautiful building rather brutally truncated with a wall which was only ever intended to be temporary but was over a century old and now a historic feature in itself; it capitalises on the need to build a new, open, modern, welcoming entrance by using it to soften the impact of the wall without hiding it, or the light that floods through it. It is at once sheltering and welcoming, drawing the eye and the passer-by in from path to porch to narthex to nave.

The project brings the church facilities into the 21st century so it can properly operate as a church and assembly and performance space for everyone, open and welcoming to whoever passes and whoever wishes to enter; an invaluable spiritual and communal resource for all in north Oxford.

The church itself has a much more open feeling, with more light inside. Appearing, as it does, more welcoming to passers-by, people are much more inclined than before to cross the threshold, as they can see inside before they do so.

  • St Michael & All Angels, Summertown- before extension

St Edmund King & Martyr Church, Southwold- Re-ordering and new facilities

Architects - Nicholas Jacob Architects

The works at St Edmund King & Martyr church involved a complete reordering of the west end of the North and South aisles and the base of the tower to create new facilities and an open more flexible space for congregating and socializing.

The new facilities include a new tea point and children’s area in the North Aisle; new shop, chair store, welcome desk and draught porch and in the South Aisle. The floor bricks in the South Porch were re-laid to create level access. Toilets were formed within the base of the tower behind a new oak screen together with a new gallery over, reached via a new door in a re-opened doorway. Re-ordering at the east of the North aisle formed a chapel of remembrance and salvaged yorkstone paving was laid to the flooring in the Trinity Chapel adjacent.
To create an open area, the back four rows of pews were removed plus a further two pews against the North and South walls. The existing flooring was a rather unsatisfactory collection of modern yorkstone flags, clay pamments and a few re-used Purbeck marble tiles. These were all taken up and a new buff clay pamment floor laid on a lime concrete base.

The impact on the life of the church has been totally positive. The new space and the improved facilities have helped the church offer better children's services with more flexibility and more fun. The new refreshment facilities offer a warmer welcome at services, and this has led to an increase in worshippers. The gallery, toilets and refreshment facilities have all attracted extra uses of the church.

  • St Edmund King & Martyr Church

  • St Edmund King & Martyr Church

St Mary's, Melton Mowbray - New servery, renovations and upgrades

Architects - Buttress

Set at the heart of Melton Mowbray, St Mary’s church plays a central role in community, hosting events such as the British Pie Awards, and the annual Christmas Tree Festival, which attracts more than 16,000 visitors each year.

However, the growing number of visitors had put increased strain on the church’s facilities. The floor was in a poor state of repair, changes in floor level made access difficult for anyone with mobility issues, refreshment facilities and audio-visual facilities needed upgrading and most of the existing lighting systems were old or obsolete.

In January 2017, the church closed, allowing its biggest renovation in 200 years to begin.
A key aim for the project was to improve the church’s catering facilities to support its growing role as a space for community events. In response, the architects designed a new refreshment facility that can be entirely concealed when not in use. The servery exists within its own self-contained cupboard, located beneath the north transept window. As a covered island unit, it can be wheeled out into the necessary position when required.
This concealable, movable unit is intended to have as little physical and aesthetic impact on the interior of the church as possible, while providing a new and desired facility for visitors, worshippers, staff and volunteers. The unit design is executed in oak with cornice work taken directly from the oak screen to the adjacent clergy and warden’s vestry.
To make the church more comfortable, as well as accessible to a number of visitors, changes to the floor, lighting and audio-visual equipment were also undertaken. Underfloor heating has been installed, and a new stone floor was laid to remove the level change and return the floor to its pre-19th century height. This work was done simultaneously, reducing impact on the heritage value of the fabric.

The changes have made the building more adaptable and contemporary, helping it serve its core visitors as well as its more transient visitors.

  • St Mary's, Melton Mowbray

  • St Mary's, Melton Mowbray

  • St Mary's, Melton Mowbray

St Comghan's Chapel, Kilchoan- New chapel

Architects - GLM

The brief was for a new-build chapel at Kilchoan, a coastal estate in Argyll, Scotland, dedicated to the Celtic saint, Comghan, after whom the estate is named.

The chosen site sits beside the sea on a track between the house and jetty and backs onto a mature natural woodland. The chapel faces due east (a convention adhered to very strictly by the Celtic church). A small garden surrounded by dry stone walls creates a transition zone between the secular and the sacred before entering through a porch at the northwest corner.

Internally it consists of three spaces – the porch, nave and apse. Each of these are built on simple geometric proportions of a golden rectangle, square and circle. The internal space is covered by a traditional loadbearing stone vault – a simple semi-circular barrel vault over the nave and a half dome over the chancel apse.

This 21st century design is unapologetically eclectic, combining the stylised designs typical of Romanesque architecture with Celtic key patterns and knotwork – something that would probably never have been seen combined together in this way historically. The design also makes use of the symbolic numbers of three (the Trinity) and seven (creation, perfection, Sabbath rest). This is seen particularly in the three windows to the nave and the number of stones in the apse vault.

The chapel is traditionally constructed. Solid walls of Mull granite (as used on Iona) carry a self-supporting stone barrel vault and a domed apse. The sandstone was dressed and hand carved offsite; the granite was split and dressed on site. The whole process would have been familiar to a medieval mason although assisted by power tools. An enclosed scaffold allowed work to continue in all weathers.

The only concessions to modernity are electricity and a heating mat in the floor, the latter not so much for human comfort as for fabric protection. This building is designed to last and will stand as a place of contemplation and worship for the enjoyment of generations to come. Soli Deo Gloria.

  • St Comghan's Chapel- exterior

  • St Comghan's Chapel- interior

Ealing Green Methodist Church, London- Renovation and extension of church

Architects - Potter Church & Holmes Architects Ltd

In response to the riots in West London of 2011, the focus of this project was to create not only an uplifting and inspiring place of worship, but extend the church mission beyond the congregation, opening up the building to the wider community.

The interior of the main church has been completely renovated to create a truly functional, flexible area. The space has been opened up, the floors levelled, pews replaced with ergonomic stackable chairs and roof windows introduced above the nave to allow natural light to pour in. This, combined with intelligently used specialist lighting, creates a soaring sense of height and lightness – giving people a truly awe-inspiring feeling when they walk into the church.

A bespoke side extension has been added in textured ‘hit and miss’ brickwork to add impact. This space is now a new modern entrance to the buildings, with an extended welcome foyer that allows free movement between all the spaces – it’s a small addition but it has totally transformed the flow in and around the church.

Finally, using a bespoke design in solid oak the magnificent gothic style arched doorway (previously hidden behind a leaky 1980s lobby) has been reinstated, creating a main church entrance befitting of a social place of worship that sits right at the heart of its community. Elevated above the road, Ealing Green Church now commands a real street presence and truly stands proud.

  • Ealing Green Methodist Church

  • Ealing Green Methodist Church

Church of St Mark, Clerkenwell- New access ramp

Architects - ZRP Architects

At nearly 200 years old, St Mark’s church is a Grade II listed, recognised for its special architectural and historic interest.

It was hard for many people to get into the church as there was no level or ramped access except temporary installations on Sundays. The church and their architects have created an open, accessible and welcoming frontage to the church.
The project comprised the removal of the hostile metal railings across the front boundary, refurbishment to the front steps and the construction of an access ramp to the south door. The ramp was designed to have minimal impact with its radially arranged fins permitting views through towards the church at all points. The site was also landscaped to provide a sensory garden.

The project provides a permanent, independent means of entry for people with specific mobility needs, including wheelchair users, disabled persons and the elderly unable to use steps, parents/carers with children and buggies, whilst complementing the architecture of the Grade II listed church. The interventions provide a welcoming, accessible entrance; a permanent addition to allow the church to be enjoyed by all.

  • Church of St Mark, Clerkenwell