Christ Church Spitalfields
Architect: Dow Jones Architects
Client: Christ Church Spitalfields
Project completion: 2015
Achieving step-free access into this Hawksmoor church may have seemed impossible given its grand entrance steps. Working closely with the church and the architects DBA explored the scope for entering the building another way.
In carrying out improvements Christ Church had two main aims; to achieve step-free access into the church itself, and to upgrade the crypt to provide public spaces that might generate an income. Both have been successfully achieved, the former by inserting a ramp down to crypt level with a lift discretely inserted up to the main church; and second by creating access to that lift via a new café with conference rooms and all associated facilities.
The vaulted undercroft is now celebrated to wholly new effect through the benefits of modern lighting, fixtures and finishes. The grid of stone columns, supporting the main floor were readily adapted to form a café and meeting spaces as well as WCs, kitchens and storage.
From the outside these major changes are barely perceptible save for the ramp to the undercroft. The ramp has been executed to a modern design using traditional materials of wood, iron and stone. The ramp is divided by landings that coincide with door openings en route.
This project was completed in 2015 and will serve the church well for decades to come. The good quality materials will minimise future costs of maintenance other than routine servicing of the automated entrance doors and the lift.
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