RIBA St Margaret’s Church Tour & Talk
Last week we hosted a RIBA talk at St Margaret’s Church, the free event gave anyone, and everyone an opportunity to visit the church and ask the design team questions regarding this brilliant scheme. Luckily someone had the foresight to record our talk and Q&A session, well worth a watch if you were not able to join us.
We were joined by the wonderful Andrew Malbon, a key member of the church team and also a fellow architect. He gives a great introduction to the project, offering an insight into the project from the church perspective – ‘Keep the thing the thing – no matter how gorgeous and lovely the (architecture is), and it is, it is here to support the people who come in the building.’
Andrew was also able to share some figures which highlight the positive impact the scheme has had on the local community. The food bank, for example, fed about 100 people a week throughout the pandemic, totally around 10,000 meals provided which could not have been done without the physical space of the church. The children’s soft play now hosts around 50 children visiting per week (not including those who use it over the weekend during services), it has become a safe and inexpensive space for families (not just from the congregation) to come together and use.
From the Q&A session, one question that really stood out for us was:
‘What has come out of this which wasn’t planned – any unintended happy accidents?’
Andrew explains how the project has expanded across the building; people no longer just congregate in the center of the church but have grown into all corners of the building. He explains how at the first wedding in the refurbished church there was an amazing, fluid use of space, which was amazing to see how the church could be utalised in such a way.
Darren explains how this project has taught Studio BAD the importance of starting each project without any preconceived ideas. Since the success of St Margaret’s, they have been asked to recreate the scheme elsewhere, however it is important not to just copy but to see the needs for each community and shape the project that way.
The future of a church is not just about Sunday, it is about community and what the physical building can offer.
The talk starts around 4 minutes into the video, Darren comes in around 22 minutes.