Bishop Edward King Chapel

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Special Award

National Panel Special Award

Level of Award

Special Award


South East

Local Authority Area



Information about this scheme

The starting point for this project was the hidden word ‘nave’ at the centre of Seamus Heaney poem Lightenings viii. The word describes the central space of a church but shares the same origin as ‘navis’, a ship, and can also mean the still centre of a turning wheel. From these words, the project encapsulates two architectural images. The first is of people collecting together around a hollow in the ground, the still point of origin. The second is that of the buoyant, tethered boat from Heaney’s poem, which rises to the tree tops to gather light from the leaves. It is this dual motion of cleaving to the earth and being lifted that the building communicates. The architecture responds sensitively to the historic surroundings and draws inspiration from it, offering a glimpse of the numinous through the particular articulation of light and space. The use of timber and stone is most appropriate and well used, offering an instant blend with its surroundings and a lovely anticipation of further mellowing with time.  Internally, concrete and screeds have been finished well and give the spaces an added crispness and durability. The Chapel encourages the diverse community of the Cuddesdon Theological campus to gather together and offers those from different traditions a space for personal prayer.



Niall McLaughlin Architects


Niall McLaughlin Architects

Main Contractor


Quantity Surveyor

Ridge and Partners LLP

Structural Engineer

Price and Myers

M&E Engineers

Synergy Consulting Engineers

Acoustic Engineer

Paul Gillieron Acoustic Design

Specialist Sub-Contractor

Harrison Goldman

Universal Design Consultant

Jane Toplis Associates

Planning Consultant

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners


HCD Management Limited

Planning Consultant

HCD Building Control

Construction Management

Richard Bayfield

Specialist Sub-Contractor

Niall McLaughlin Architects

Primary Use Class

Class D1h - Public Worship