The diocese of St Columba came to Studio BAD to look into options and design feasibilities for the future of the modern church, which is located in Fareham near Portsmouth, Hampshire. Through an in-depth community engagement program it has been possible to review the assets of the site and offer a new path forward to deliver a new church, community space alongside a new social housing development.

The existing modern church is well used by the community, but last year the church hall was condemned due to a fire and the main church building is in need of major maintenance work, which had been the catalysis for looking into options for the future of the church. We started the process by hosting a series of community engagement events, listening to all those who use the space to uncover the needs of the community for the venue. The first phase of events invited the whole community to attend, followed up by a second phase of focus groups with the local primary school and community-led club leaders who had existing strong ties to the church.

Through this work it was possible to distill the key design goals going forward which included; creating a church with low on-going maintenance costs, having open and flexible space for the community to use for various activities, retain and nurture the strong links to local schools and create an inviting and safe space where all are welcome. With these key findings established we interrogate the existing church to establish the best way forward. The decision has already been made to demolish the hall after the fire, so the main piece of work was looking at if the main church building could be redeveloped to meet the community needs.

To redevelop the existing church temporary enable it to meet the demand on the space including a substantial amount of work including adding a kitchen, toilet facilities, storage, alongside a full energy efficiency overhaul with replacement windows throughout, insulation, new heating system and new electrical system. Unfortunately, the costs involved made the project unsustainable, and so a new proposal was put forward that could unlock funding by selling the existing church building to allow a new low energy church and community space to be built on the site.

To raise the funding needed the existing church and vestry building would be sold, to be redeveloped for social housing. Through careful analysis of the building, it has been possible to create nine residential flats, with an internal communal space and a warden’s room to offer on-going support to the residence.

Practice : Studio: B.A.D Architects

Time Scale: December 2023 – ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed

Location: Fareham, Hampshire

Client: St Columba Church