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Unit One Architects

Unit One Architects

London, England

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Unit One Architects - Church Concept Design

Unit One Architects

Concept design for a new church and community building in Kent.






The brief was to provide a quality short term church space followed by a permanent church and hall of exemplary design. The idea was to consider two options; one, a temporary building that would be erected and then removed whilst the Diocese raised funds to build the permanent structure or two, an interim building that would remain and eventually serve as a church hall.

The building was to be clearly recognisable as a church with a welcoming frontage, dignified appearance and provision for a Cross symbol affixed to the front and clearly visible from the street. Enough provision for accommodation was to be provided which included congregation and worship space, baptistry, sacristy, vestry, cafe, Sunday and cooking school, creche and parish offices with a chapel leading to memorial gardens.

With the idea of this space being the heart of the community with an emphasis of encouraging a new generation of individuals to return to the church, our approach was to create a modern and contemporary design and change the perception of what the church is; not just a place of worship but a place which brings people of all backgrounds together. A space of belonging. The design would feature stunning minimalist interior influences with sleek exterior appearances, which will appeal to a vibrant new community. The central foyer allows the structure to be separated into two entities; one for private faith and worship, the other for community and social activities. The structure would be of natural appearance through use of a timber glulam frame which is a cost effective, light weight, flexible material that is also able to create large spans easily. The frame becomes both part of the exterior and interior structure with expanses of glazing between each frame to allow the most important element of ecclesiastical design, light, to flood through. Glazed skylights above between the successive shells are continually responsive to the changing pattern of light and shadow as the sun moves across its trajectory.

Word from the architect

The concept was for a timber portal frame that would allow for an open and welcoming glazed structure that would embed the new church with the heart of the community.