Bridge Community Church - Leeds
A design which reflects Bridge Community Church’s mission: a building which is open and accessible to the community. Architecture which is honest and contemporary.
Bridge Community Church (formerly known as Bridge Street Pentecostal Church) is a busy city centre church. The Bridge Street site had been compulsorily purchased for the second phase of the Eastgate Quarter retail development by the property developer Hammerson UK Properties PLC. The church was offered, as a temporary ‘home’, the site at Burmantofts, formerly the Agnes Stewart C of E High School, with a view to remaining, as a tenant, in the new Eastgate Quarter retail development. After prayerful deliberation the Church Leadership saw their temporary relocation as a permanent move to Burmantofts, which is one of the most deprived areas in Leeds. The church negotiated a deal with the developer which included the freehold for the Agnes Stewart site, a new 1000-seater auditorium, two-storey meeting room accommodation and the part refurbishment of what was a 3-storey classroom wing which had been built in the early 1990s. The site also accommodates 200 car parking spaces and a multi-use games area (MUGA) leased from the Leeds City Council.
Bridge Community Church’s mission revolves around three words, ‘go’, ‘grow’ and ‘glorify’. ‘Go’ –reaching out with God’s love and message. ‘Grow’ – helping people to grow to their full God-given potential. ‘Glorify’ – as a faith community to live in such a way that the name of the Lord Jesus is held in high honour.
The design brief reflects Bridge Community Church’s mission: a building which is open and accessible to the community. The architecture which is honest and contemporary. A welcome area where the receptionist can be easily seen from the entrance lobby. A café which opens immediately off the entrance foyer and provides a space where people can meet. Two large reception rooms where people can meet and have coffee after the service. Multi-purpose spaces which can be partitioned off, with acoustic screens, to allow simultaneous meetings to take place in each of the rooms with access from the foyer. A large kitchen which can cater for 250 people in one sitting. Flexibility and interconnectivity are key space planning requirements. Children’s rooms which are flexible and easily accessible to safe play spaces.
Challenges + Opportunities
The site rises steeply from Rider Street with the main entrance to the new church, (called the Bridge Centre), and existing building, (called the Stewart Building), level with the newly formed ‘Square’. The ‘Square’ can be accessed from the café and used as an external seating area. The Bridge Centre follows the contours of the site. The lower ground floor has an external south facing secure play area for the parent/carer toddler’s group.
A large sewer, 15m deep, runs across the site, slightly to the north of the auditorium, with the requirement of an easement either side of the sewer. A high voltage power cable also runs within this easement. The substation (which was attached to the school) was relocated onto Rider Street as part of the redevelopment of the site.
The MUGA and a grassed area, to the east of the games area, fell outside the development and is owned by Leeds City Council. The church has secured a lease for this land which is designated as a Protected Playing Pitch in the Development Framework. It is the church’s intention is to refurbish the MUGA when funds become available.
The grassed area on the east side of the boundary fence, between Burmantofts Street and the fence, had been compulsory purchased for a proposed tram scheme, which has now expired. The entrance, facing Burmantofts Street, connects the Bridge Centre with the adjacent bus stop, and for disabled people, there is a stair lift to enable wheelchair users to negotiate the steps to the east entrance.
The auditorium, which is entered from the foyer, has been designed to meet the requirements for modern worship. A raised dais for the preacher and worship group. Audio/visual projection onto the rear and flanking walls. An audio, video and light desk to the rear of the auditorium. Programmable LED luminaires to control the ceiling and house lighting levels. To improve the reverberation time of the auditorium QRD diffusers have been built into the side and rear wall panels hidden behind printed acoustic fabric and a spray-on absorbent surface had been applied to the underside of the metal roof decking. The ventilation within the auditorium is low velocity air percolating through the ceiling ‘clouds’ supplied via ventilation socks and removed via a bell-mouth extract located at the rear of the auditorium. The plant room is located above the ground floor toilets and east entrance.
The lower ground floor, which can be accessed from the foyer by a stair or lift, provides a large space for the parent/carer toddler’s group (Splashtime) which meets Mondays to Thursdays. Splashtime have direct access to an outdoor play space. These rooms are also used for the crèche and Little Learners on a Sunday. The adjoining suite of rooms, to the east, are used on a Sunday by Refresh (6-7 year olds) and as occasional mid-week meeting rooms.
The Stewart Building (the remaining wing of the original school) has been partially refurbished as part of the main contract funded by members of the church. The older children (8-11 year olds) and youth (12-18 years old) meet on the ground floor of the Stewart Building with the intention of developing the upper floors for offices and further meeting rooms once funds become available.
The project commenced on site in January 2015, procured as a Design and Build contract: HH Smith and Sons Co Ltd were the main contractor, with Byrom Clark Roberts novated as architects. The project was completed in June 2016.
“We are getting settled in to our new building and we are so pleased with it. At times I still pinch myself when I think of this fabulous provision that is debt free! Our people love it, in fact every one that visits loves it.”
[Steve Reilly | Senior Pastor]
- Project Type : Church New-Build
- Project Value : £6.4M
- Project Status : Design & Build
- BCR services : RIBA Stages 1-3 and novated Stages 4-6
- Start / End : January 2015 / June 2016
- Contractor : HH Smith Ltd
- Last Updated : 31st October 2016