St Margaret’s Church is located in the heart of Portsea, serving the wide community of Portsmouth and Southsea. The existing building was in need of some renovation which has allowed this enormous opportunity, to review and reinterpret the church building and what it could offer to the community, drawing people to reengage with this incredible building.

Studio : B.A.D Architects where  commissioned to undertake a complete architectural overview of the wonderful existing church. The first, most important, role was to listen carefully to what all stakeholders were really saying. It was essential to hold major community engagement events where we assiduously recorded the voices of those present, but we have also made a number of small-scale visits to watch and to listen to wonderful stories of those who use, and love St Margaret’s.

Those diverse voices guided and informed the development of this design strategy and encouraged a reimagining of the Church for the 21st Century. At the centre of the strategy sits the concept of ‘meanwhile architecture’; a methodology through which an innovative strategy can be deliver architectural changes incrementally as resources allow. The strategy also allows for deviation to occur as identified need changes.

Phase one of the plan is currently underway, this includes a new and robust concrete floor though the whole church, the development of some very simple robust furniture that can multi-functional so it can be adaptable when creating ‘rooms’ within the church space.

A architectural additional is the newly formed place of entry, this is not just a physical door to the external urban realm but has used architectural design to enhance the space and create a community hub for people to gather with a café and food bank and is lit at high level by a light scoop.

This strategy is born of the words etched upon the Church Wall suggesting that St Margaret’s is not the place for perfect souls but rather for imperfect souls; which led us to the words of Leonard Cohen:


There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets it’.

Leonard Cohen

Practice : Studio: B.A.D Architects

Time Scale: April 2019 – Ongoing

Budget: £500,000

Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

Client: St Margarets