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Edinburgh Church puts its faith in expansion

April 12 2018

Edinburgh Church puts its faith in expansion
Aitken Turnbull Architects are taking the design lead expansion of a B-listed church on the corner of West Richmond Street and Davie Street in Edinburgh through demolition of a later extension and construction of a larger addition housing a café and first floor function room.

The chosen approach will see Life Church open up the important corner to maximise views of the Salisbury Crags with an active street frontage to help embed the church within the surrounding community.

In a statement the architects wrote: “The ground floor space is open and free flowing between the cafe space and church building and a central light well through the building will provide natural light into the deepest part of the plan.

“A simple and unobtrusive flank elevation treatment to the upper levels provide subtle brick recesses to mimic the opening proportions of the existing church.”

Faced with buff brick and red zinc the extension will include a framed colonnade finished in cast concrete.
A collonaded cafe will provide street-level interaction
A collonaded cafe will provide street-level interaction
A rising congregation has seen the church outgrow its current premises
A rising congregation has seen the church outgrow its current premises


jimbob tanktop
#1 Posted by jimbob tanktop on 12 Apr 2018 at 12:14 PM
No doubt coming to a Fringe programme near you, soon.
Charlie Jencks
#2 Posted by Charlie Jencks on 13 Apr 2018 at 09:08 AM
#1 - yes, a strange language adopted by the architects indeed. I also see a 70s Lasdun-esque-thing goin on here (Royal College of Physicians).

As commonly happens here on UR, I am not so sure that the laudable description of the architectural aim and objectives translates successfully into the abstracted architectural language.

Maybe the design approach of a bit more 'humanity' (a la Lucien Kroll) is needed here rather than the architect's ascetic linguistic proportions.

After all, it's a church for God's sake. Not a Department of Work and Pensions building. It's for people! For real!
Divine Intervention
#3 Posted by Divine Intervention on 13 Apr 2018 at 10:56 AM
Very generous with that Lasdun reference there Charlie... very very kind. If only the architecture of this was as generous and offered something of that undercroft... then maybe...
I find everything about this strange, unsettling, and utterly joyless. The existing building, while modest, has a certain (very scottish) robust civic presence that I just cannot read in this lumpy mess either materially or proportionally. And Charlie you are right that it is architecturally at odds with the written statement. You cant hide in drawings, and image 2 shows the lack of care - those roofs man!. There are some shockers on UR but im really surprised at this. Given the brief it could not be less life affirming. Thats not being miserable - im optimistic about the future, which is why this is so disappointing. There is no shortage of excellent examples of small religious assembly buildings in Scotland and beyond. I suggest some research.... and maybe some non-sketchup drawing.
#4 Posted by Stylecouncil on 13 Apr 2018 at 17:01 PM
A very odd, clumsy looking thing. The ‘Colonnade’ (precast window mullions rather) seem proportionately completely incorrect for the mass. The material pallet is rank.
#5 Posted by Sven on 14 Apr 2018 at 20:03 PM
The only redeeming feature is that it is not built yet.

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