Bethnal Green Mission Church

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Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Tower Hamlets

Information about this scheme

Bethnal Green Mission Church is a truly mixed-use building at the heart of a conservation area. The building includes a double height church, two community halls, a café, a foodbank and community kitchen as well as a vicarage and offices.

Residential accommodation (the sale of which provides finance for the scheme) is sited above. All of these varied uses fit onto a tight site bounded by a railway line and a main road, resulting in a dense, efficient building that still manages to retain a sense of spaciousness and generosity within. Appearing as a robust yet elegant urban block, the building is an intricate blend of different uses with the church at its heart. The pale brick facade, in a distinctive ‘raking monk’ bond, is framed by light concrete elements and references the surrounding listed buildings, in materiality and proportion.

This project demonstrates economic sustainability in both how it was built and how it is run: commercial activities such as the café (itself a social enterprise) and the letting of workspace help to fund the ongoing community activities. The scheme also included the reinvigoration of the adjacent listed Paradise Gardens, transforming a place of antisocial behaviour into a well-loved park by giving people a reason to use it: café seating overspills into the park, whilst a new route through to the bars and restaurants adjacent is enhanced with extensive new planting and seating.

The community spaces are used regularly by a wide range of groups including local charities, trafficked women, disadvantaged youth, and the homeless. Its offer is open to all and includes a food bank, night shelter, after-school clubs, debt advice, ante-natal classes, Christian- Muslim interfaith projects, and subsidised offices for local charities.

Generous toilet provision, showers and a community kitchen help to ensure the successful delivery of these services.

Credits

Architect

Gatti Routh Rhodes

Client

Thornsett

Contractor's Architects

Capital Architects

Main Contractor

Curo

Structural Engineer

Price and Myers

Services Engineer

OCSC

Client

BGMC

Artist

Coralie Bickford-Smith

Primary Use Class

Class D1h - Public Worship