King's Church - Amersham
To design a landmark building which could be seen from the road and have a ‘civic’ presence but not look like a church. The design should be welcoming with lots of glass and with views from the building.
Kings’ Church Amersham was formerly known as the Amersham Old Town Baptist Church and was formed in 1783. The Leaders of the church had, for a number of years been seeking larger and more suitable premises to expand the mission of the church. The site is located to the north-east of Amersham Old Town on the site of redundant playing fields- the school had been closed in the 1980s.
Part of the Chiltern Planning Policy required provision of a community facility. The Council suggested that CALA Homes approach the church who were looking for a site in the Amersham area and CALA Homes invited the church to submit a joint Planning Application for a site for housing and a community.
The design should be welcoming with lots of glass. The entrance, which faces the road, is designed to draw people into the foyer and café area. The café, which is south facing, can spill onto a paved forecourt. The building has a strong diagonal axis which is reflected in the roof design. This axis continues through a set of glazed doors leading to the sanctuary platform.
Challenges + Opportunities
The auditorium has been designed for flexibility. By opening the acoustic partitions to the large meeting room and children’s nursery and crèche the seating capacity of the auditorium can be increased for special occasions.
The diagonal orientation of the auditorium also helps reduce excessive reverberation. Nicola Benedetti, a world renowned violinist, has performed twice at the church and finds the venue intimate and acoustically outperforms some of the more prestigious venues in London.
The design of the auditorium provides a space which will seat approximately 375 people for public worship and can also be used as a business venue and concert hall. The entrance foyer has a coffee shop which opens onto a south facing terrace via sliding patio windows. A large multi-use meeting room on the ground floor will facilitate the Breakfast and After School Clubs and a Crèche/Nursery with its own secure outdoor play area. First floor meeting rooms provide further accommodation for the Church community and youth work.
The building has been designed to be sustainable. The space heating is underfloor with a heat pump drawing the latent heat from boreholes located within the north-east corner of the site under part of the car park. The storage cylinders and calorifiers are located in the in the first floor plant room above the main kitchen.
The auditorium and internal meeting room and toilets are ventilated through air handling units which are located behind the sanctuary platform area and behind the prayer room in the roof space. The remaining rooms are naturally ventilated using open-able windows. Heat gain through the summer is controlled by the brise soleil on the south and south-west elevations.
The lighting within the auditorium is a mixture of compact fluorescents and LEDs. The ceiling has ‘feature’ computer controlled LED lighting which can change colour and change the ambiance of the auditorium space.
Byrom Clark Roberts were lead design consultants on the project. The contract was procured under the JCT Standard Form of Building Contract with Byrom Clark Roberts acting as Contract Administrators.
"It is clear that our move to our new building was like being released from a very “hemmed-in”, restricted position (effectively hidden along a small alleyway in the Old Town) to a brand new arena from which to serve the community and a new platform from which to pronounce the good news of Jesus Christ.
"Our growth and the opportunities arising from that growth has been nothing short of outstanding over the past 18 months."
- Project Type : New Church Building
- Project Value : £2,857,500
- Project Status : RIBA Stage 7 - In Use
- BCR services : RIBA Work Stages 1-7
- Start / End : October 2012 / October 2013
- Contractor : Jarvis Contracting Ltd
- Last Updated : 31st October 2016