- Clients: International Presbyterian Church Ealing
- City: London
- Country: United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. The scheme, created for the International Presbyterian Church Ealing (IPC), evolved through a combination of extensive consultation with the congregation and fundraising.
Piercy&Company were not the first architects to have designed a scheme for the IPC on this site, however, when the existing chapel was listed it made many of the site constraints far more demanding. Realising they required something that was more sensitive to both the newly listed chapel and the surrounding area, Piercy&Company were commissioned to explore an alternative design. This was an exciting challenge, designing a scheme which could respond to the church's need for flexibility and usefulness, whilst also creating a series of beautiful, uplifting spaces appropriate to the building’s main function and responsive to its setting.
The soaring ceilings and vaulted spaces of traditional church architecture offered a key reference point for the church’s form. The larger interior volumes of the church provided a fascinating opportunity to explore grand spaces and expressive, symbolic architectural forms. The dynamic roof geometry is made possible through the hybrid structure of steel framing and cross-laminated timber. Arriving at site in prefabricated panels, the use of CLT allowed for rapid on-site construction with minimal waste. Among the many benefits of this highly sustainable material is the warmth and familiarity of the wood grain bringing a more domestic scale to the soaring structure.
The creative use of commonplace components has elevated the project above its relatively modest means. Up-close, the building is almost domestic in the simplicity of its detailing, however, off-the-shelf materials and products are then arranged in a bespoke way to create highly unique spaces throughout the scheme. Extensive physical modeling was used to simplify and refine the complex geometry allowing the contractor to set out the form. The finished result is a space that feels domestic and familiar in its warmth and simplicity.
Stuart Piercy, Piercy&Company said; “We pleated and folded the roof form to create a finer-grained roofscape, reducing the perception of the building’s massing within a predominantly residential street. But the folds also have a symbolic role. As the roof rises towards the front of the site, the folds peak in an abstracted spire, signaling the building’s ecclesiastical function.”
Pete Jennings, Piercy&Company said; “The key to this scheme was retaining our ambition for the building – and the ambition of the client – whilst building in a simple, cost-effective way. The design, which evolved over more than 7 years, uses standard materials in interesting ways and has created a centre for the community that preserves its historical heritage and allows a bold move to the future for a growing community.”