Award-winning architects, Theis + Khan have accepted the challenge of redeveloping St Thomas’ United Reformed Church in Watford. The original 1970s structure was not fit for purpose: poorly constructed, difficult to maintain and not fully accessible for all worshippers. Because of this, church members have proposed a new church and community building, with an adjacent development of nine, three-storey houses, the sale of which will fund the redevelopment of the church.
The architects responded to the client brief with an insightful and distinctive design, which makes reference to religious scrolls and to Watford’s history as a paper-making centre. Clad in ceramic tiles, the scrolling church walls will enclose the main worship space and terminate in a spire-like form to provide a landmark in the area. Small, coloured glass windows within the scroll will allow shafts of light down into the space within.
Behind the scroll element of the design is the main church building, clad in London stock brick to match the many Victorian buildings in the neighbourhood. The building will also include a café and meeting room on the ground floor and a large gabled sports hall on the first floor.
The original memorial garden at the rear of the church will be retained with an additional garden area added.
A spokesman for St Thomas’ Church said: The scheme has been evolving during the last two years, and having planning consent for Theis + Khan’s landmark design is an important step to providing accommodation for the Church’s needs and its mission among the local community.”