The strong mandate given by the local community in the survey (see results of survey above), has been translated into plans for the re-ordering of the church building to cater for wider community use. The survey revealed that the essential features of the community building must include a large car park, toilets, catering facilities, disabled access and large and flexible spaces for the various events and activities.
The design that has emerged has two toilets on the ground floor (one accessible toilet), a large kitchen capable of catering for over 100 people, and crucially flexible spaces for events and activities. The design allows for 3 meeting flexible spaces. For smaller meetings, the gallery above the kitchen and toilets is a small meeting area capable of seating 15 -20 people. There is a projector screen, meeting table and glass/steel safety barriers.
For larger classes eg pilates, dance, yoga etc the main downstairs area in the existing area can seat 80 people. It could also be arranged in café style seating or an open space for activities.
For the largest of events (for example a music performances, weddings, funerals etc), people can be seated in both the Nave and the Gallery with a capacity of 100+ and all would be able to view the chancel area. This capacity is consistent with the results of the survey where over 2/3 of respondents thought the building should be capable of accommodating up to 100 persons whilst nearly ¼ felt that it should accommodate more than 100.
At all times in the design process, the Diocesan Advisory Committee has been fully consulted and they are very supportive of our design. At the recent community unveiling of these plans, there was overwhelming support with comments such as “….you’ve really nailed it [the design]…..” and “……the presentations of the proposed modifications to the Church were impressive, and everyone seemed to like the proposal….”
This plan view shows the large Nave space with font moved from west end to the south east corner of the nave.
In order to ensure accessibility for all, the floor level in the Nave will be raised by 15cm to be level with the Chancel. This allows for regular churchgoers, some of whom are elderly with mobility issues to access the altar and Chancel. It has the spin off benefit of allowing for underfloor heating.
The Gallery is a curved shape as this complements the stairs and windows in the building. The gallery will jetty out beyond the kitchen and toilets below, with spotlights giving it a special intimate feel and illuminating the serving hatch in the kitchen. There’s plenty of head height on both levels and the Victorians loved high ceilings!
The tall West windows flood the Gallery with natural light and the ornate bell tower corbel provides a wonderful architectural feature.
This view shows the gallery space, accessed by stairs, well illuminated from the south window, with Kitchen and toilets below.
The plan is to finish the kitchen in bleached oak matchboard. This has been used to great effect at Bourton on the Water church and the natural beauty of the wood fits in well with the stone, plaster, steel and glass combining ancient and modern.
This is the view from the Gallery. As you can see visibility is excellent from Gallery to Chancel. Many churches were built with a west end Gallery for musicians but would not have had the benefit of toilets and kitchen below!
The nave is a large open space. You can see in this image that it is laid out in a café style. In the survey, rural isolation was identified as a big issue and a pop up café would go a long way toward combatting the problem.