LDN Architects have worked with the St John's community on ideas and approaches to this unique and challenging city centre site for 14 years. The shape of the project evolved over its unusually long gestation in response the array of influences acting on it. With the ever present challenge of raising the necessary funds and the need to respond sensitively to the building’s setting, the new work is knitted into the historic fabric with the most obvious part, the church hall extension, occupying a glorious, south facing corner of the site elevated above the sloping churchyard, amongst the canopies of surrounding trees. Particular challenges included the need for a programme of archaeological work in connection with the re-location of memorials and burial lairs and the taking down and moving of an entire stone elevation with ornamental carved, gothic detailing from one end of the building to the other.
Our close relationship with such a thoughtful yet determined client group was essential in ensuring that the building programme would be precisely attuned to the church community’s particular city centre mission to be open to all, to celebrate life and to be provocative when necessary. We are thrilled to see the re-developed building filled with life since completion of the works earlier this year.
The practice has a long history of working on church and cathedral buildings. Often the architectural highlights of our local built environment, places of worship now face modern challenges and must adapt to serve changing communities and lifestyles. At Morningside Parish Church, Marchmont St Giles and St Mary’s RC Cathedral new multi-functional spaces were provided fit for 21st century worship alongside the wider community outreach activities that bind church buildings to the communities they serve.