Christ Church Crypt, Spitalfields, London, Images, Building, Interior, Proposal
London Church Architecture : Spitalfields Crypt
Christ Church Crypt Spitalfields, East London - design by Dow Jones Architects
Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt
Design: Dow Jones Architects
Images, 9 Jan 2009
In December 2008, Dow Jones Architects won an invited competition to redevelop the crypt of Christ Church, Hawksmoor’s grade I listed church in Spitalfields. The church above was substantially restored by Purcell Miller Tritton in 2004. The crypt has been used latterly as a shelter for homeless men, and also provides a meeting and prayer space for the parish. It is brick vaulted with limestone piers, with some natural light from the existing windows.
Our proposal places three enclosures inside the crypt, which house the private or functional aspects of the brief, and create a series of communal spaces in between. These enclosures are made of oak, responding to Hawksmoor’s use of joinery in the church above to make the areas of inhabitation – stairs, window seats and balconies – that reconcile the giant order of the church with the human scale. The enclosures in the aisle contain the shop, w.c.s, kitchen, green room and stores; the top of these enclosures align with the top of the piers, allowing natural light from the side windows to light the central spaces. The third enclosure at the east end is the chapel; it is marked out by its form which follows the form of the vaulting.
The crypt is entered via a generous ramp accessed from the street which enters through the west door and runs into the heart of the crypt. We are proposing that the ramp and the floor establish a new ground within the space, and are made of terrazzo with crushed limestone chips.
We imagine the crypt space operating like a small town, with the café space being like a market square, a point of orientation and collection, with the hall and chapel around it. The organisation is sufficiently robust and flexible to allow the crypt to be used in many different ways. Like a small town, it has everyday happenings – a meeting in the hall, prayers in the chapel, lunch in the café – and is transformed for particular events – a theatre performance spilling out into the aisles and café in the interval, the great doors opening from the hall into the café for a huge gathering, a special service followed by a meal in the café.
Christ Church Crypt Design images / information from Dow Jones Architects 090109
Christ Church Crypt designers : Dow Jones Architects
Christ Church Spitalfields, East End
Nicholas Hawksmoor, Architect
photo © Adrian Welch
Christ Church Spitalfields : main page
Christ Church Spitalfields architect - Nicholas Hawksmoor
St Paul's Cathedral London
London Church Architect - Christopher Wren
Christ Church Spitalfields restoration : Purcell Miller Tritton
photo © Nick Weall
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Christ Church Crypt Design - page : adrian welch / isabelle lomholt