When St John’s church in Egham decided to add a new community centre to its landmark Georgian building, originally built in 1817, it needed a sensitive way to link the new with the existing.
In contrast to the historic church, the new community centre is designed in a contemporary style, using natural stonework and curtain walling. The architect has opted to connect the structures with a glazed atrium.
Phil Winch, principal architect at CPL – an architecture practice specialising in church projects – said: “The new centre is now in use and provides St. John’s with extensive, new, versatile spaces, which embrace the new community centre project. Structural glazing is an excellent way of connecting buildings with different architectural styles, and also provides a dramatic visual impact to the entrance area.
“In the case of an historic building such as St John’s, a glazed link allows the original building to retain its traditional appearance while, creating a route into the new centre that has the bright and airy sense of the outdoors, but which is also warm and sheltered.”
The architect’s design was a central glazed, 6.5-metre-tall glass box with a partially glazed roof. Pilkington Planar™ structural glazing was chosen to minimise the visual interruptions created by the glazing.
The glass was supported by a combination of steel and glass fins, which helped to further reduce the presence of opaque structural elements.
The central box is connected to the buildings by four one-metre-wide glass wings that sit in grooves in the stonework of the facades, creating a seamless transition.
The double-glazed units used in the atrium feature Pilkington K Glass™. This has an on-line pyrolytic low-e coating designed to reflect heat back into a building, greatly improving its thermal efficiency while also maximising natural daylight. This reduces the amount of heat that radiates out of the space and helps to lower heating bills during the winter months.
Jason Eggerton, Pilkington Planar™ Business Development Manager, said: “This was a very complex and precise design which had to fit exactly between the existing church and the new community centre.
“Thanks to close co-operation between the team at Ide Contracting and the Pilkington design team, the challenging installation was completed smoothly, and the result is a visually striking structure that seamlessly links the old and the new.”
The new St John’s community centre, with its excellent town centre location, will provide significantly improved facilities. The space will enable the church to develop the range of services it provides to the local community - including the expansion of their pre-school Nursery and Playgroup, food bank, debt counselling and bereavement support.
It also features catering facilities, enabling the new building to be an ideal venue for meetings and conferences of local organisations and charities.
Images courtesy of Neilcott Construction Ltd