Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene’s
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
This project provides access – both physical and cultural – to an under-used Grade I listed church on the Heritage at Risk register.
The project makes use of a Dicocesan Pastural Measure of 2008 which allows churches to lease parts of the building but remain consecrated. The two clients have joined together to make an arts and community centre, opening the building up to the community for wider uses. Along with extensive restoration of the church, the new building contains a café and education room as well as WCs and staff offices, and brings access to the fully refurbished undercroft.
The local community has been at the heart of this project that brings new use to an under-used Grade I listed church in a deprived London ward. The new building in a constricted site between the church and the neighbouring school, is a heritage centre which connects the church, the school, the canalside park and the street, across a significant change in level.
Designed as a new ‘gateway’ into the church, it engages with the listed church, making its internal decorative character visible on the outside with walls made of metallic glazed terracotta.
The restored church involved cleaning and revealing the extraordinary decorative scheme, including the painted ceiling by Daniel Bell, and for the first time the undercroft can be publicly used, with new mechanical and electrical services and new level access to it.
The canalside park which the building overlooks has suffered from anti-social behaviour for generations, and is one of the reasons that the church was so often closed, with its door on the north side bricked up for over forty years. The project has re-opened this entrance, and the Grand Junction café and the education room upstairs now provide a busy and active public frontage to the park, with new external lighting, planting and a terrace, so that the new life of the building is spreading outside. Through extensive engagement with the local community, the project has worked hard to re-imagine and re-connect the listed building to its context.
The church now runs an extensive programme of community events and gatherings making the heritage asset accessible once more for generations to come.
Dow Jones Architects
Paddington Development Trust
Gardiner & Theobald
William G Dick
Primary Use Class
Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure