Church and Market Hall in Hackney
London, UK
Academic project at The Cass, London
Tutors: Nina Lundvall and James Payne
Project nominated for 2013 RIBA Bronze Medals

Church and Market Hall in Hackney

The proposal is at its core a Seventh Day Adventist Church for a community which incrementally grows larger than its current church. The self-written brief takes on further interpretations of what a sanctuary, a church space and its surroundĀ¬ings can provide for the public and London today. This plasticity comes from engaging with the energy Kingsland Road shares physically and civically but also from looking at the roles of the church through time. Churches historically gathered secular activities around them and were very often places of vitality and not only religious assembly. The idea of the market which goes back to medieval churches makes its way into the proposed program.

Still of importance, and with a dramatic use of materials and structure the Sanctuary remains the core of the program only losing very specific signage, iconography or specific denominational statuary. This stripping of symbols and signage provides for a looser use of space. The Sanctuary can hold concerts and public events as well as accommodating a very specific Adventist Sabbath Mass, while during the week it can be a quiet contemplation space.

Due to its position and possibilities the site has the potential to become a powerful landmark on Kingsland Road. The current character of the site and its surrounding qualities are very much about a constant change, a certain ad-hocism and the materiality is never inspiring ideas of permanence on which to base durable civic roots. Very rare are the occasions of a public space opening into this roman road with many of the churches in the area being closed to public life. I believe a new church on Kingsland Road, even regardless of its religion can become a gathering point. By using certain materials and designing a building with a character of importance and permanence a new place can take form. Through studying precedents such as Sainte-Chappelle and Islev Church, ideas of structural clarity, sequence and rhythm are taken further as main physical themes in creating a new gravitational field, introducing a bit of stillness into a roman road which seems to be mainly about speed and connections.