Floating Church to take to London’s canals

Nick Myall
01 Dec 2017

A Floating Church and community hub is set to develop links with communities throughout London

Denizen Works have completed designs for the Floating Church and Community Hub, an ambitious project commissioned by the Diocese of London. The project, designed in collaboration with Turks Boat builders, Tucker Designs and Jeckells the Sailmakers is scheduled for construction in Spring 2018.

The bespoke floating hub has been designed to navigate the London canal network and moor at key regeneration sites, with a focus on developing links with the growing communities in the London Mayor’s key Opportunity Areas. As a church, the hub will look to grow congregations in these new communities with a view to finding a permanent home in these areas when critical mass is reached.

In addition to its function as a church, the boat is designed with a highly flexible and adaptable interior to accommodate a wide range of community activities including; parent and toddler groups, meeting spaces, supper clubs, exhibitions, live music, yoga classes, book groups and art classes.

The boat’s defining feature is a large pop-up roof, inspired by the church organ bellows and the pop-up sleeping pods found in vintage V.W camper vans. The opening roof spans the entire length of the multi-functional hall and will provide a dramatic internal space and distinct visual identity for the church.

This aluminium roof is raised using worm-screws and a series of pivoting arms, powered by air rams. From the raised roof hang the translucent bellows, fabricated from two skins of Atex architectural membrane, sandwiched around a skeletal carbon-fibre frame.

Pale, whitewashed ply wall linings, painted timber clad ceilings and Marmoleum flooring provide a simple, light interior. Perforated metal window screens can be folded down to increase the level of privacy when a more intimate atmosphere is desired.

Externally the vessel will be painted in traditional marine colours with a bespoke relief frieze based on sail stitching describing the bellows in the opening roof. It is envisaged that this innovative project will become a landmark on the canals of London bringing with it significant interest, both local and international.

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