The Diocese of Portsmouth have appointed Studio BAD to conduct feasibility studies to look at the future possibilities of three churches in Ryde, Isle of Wight, which have been identified as they are located in areas of greatest deprivation or community need.

Following the success of our project at St Margaret’s, the diocese is interested to explore how the church buildings might be transformed through architecture, to deliver enhanced community spaces. The three churches, All Saints’, St. John’s and St. Michael’s, each has a different set of opportunities and challenges to work with, which we look to positively exploit, to create vibrant community spaces.

The work has centred around a series of community engagement workshops; as a first step in the process, it is imperative to gain a greater understanding of the aspirations of the associated communities, exploring the possibilities for the future of each place, their relationship to each other and the greater context of Ryde and the Isle of Wight. Through deep listening and the recording of stories, the design team aim to weave the voices of the community into the foundations of the design, for all conversations around the re-imagining of these spaces and places.

As part of the design process it was identified that within the churches there was a need for a flexible, small scale ‘room’ to be created, to offer a space that was enclosed within the larger church interior to be used for meeting or informal discussions. A prototype device has been designed (and built as part of our exhibition at God’s House Tower), crafted from chip board with a Perspex window. The simple design is effective, creating a wonderfully warm and inviting space, that fits comfortably within the church environment.

ALL SAINTS’ was built between 1868 and 1872 by the architect George Gilbert Scott and is the parish church of Ryde. As it sits atop the hill in the centre of Ryde, the churches spire is arguable the most prominent feature of the Isle of Wight skyline when viewed from Portsmouth and the surrounding Solent coastline, and an important landmark within the town.

ST JOHN’S was built in 1843 and lies within the parish of Oakfield, Ryde. In 1870 it was enlarged and 100 years later in 1970 a church hall was added, this hall was refurbished in 2006 and used as The Park Centre, a community centre, for several years. The Church building itself is now closed as the roof is unsafe, however activities have now resumed in the church hall.

THE CHURCH OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS was built between 1857- 62 and consecrated by the Bishop of Westminster in 1863, it is the former parish Church and lies in the area of Swanmore, Ryde. The church is designed in a distinctive French Gothic style, by architect R.J.Jones.

Each church is looked at as an independent project, yet also reviewing how the three churches could tie together into the proposal, creating links and interventions across the city to enhance the connection of the community spaces.

Practice : Studio: B.A.D. Architects

Time Scale: January 2022 – Ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed

Location: Ryde, Isle of Wight

Client: The Diocese of Portsmouth