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Revitalised Govan Old Church to terminate new ‘cultural circuit’

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February 5 2020

Revitalised Govan Old Church to terminate new ‘cultural circuit’

Govan Heritage Trust is seeking to adapt and extend the A-listed Govan Old Church with the submission of plans prepared by jmarchitects for both the church itself and the Govan Stones, regarded as one of the finest collections of Medieval sculpture in Europe.

Under the plans, a new build extension envisioned as a contemporary cloister will be formed to provide office space, toilets and lift access which will enable the church to be utilised as an events venue and public space.

Building on unrealised plans drawn up by Robert Rowand Anderson the modern cloisters formed from hewn stone are designed to complement without competing with the historic building.

Explaining this approach the architects wrote: “To ensure a ‘light-touch’ to the existing building, the extension is intentionally pulled back from the west-facing elevation to create a triple-height top-lit space with an external quality, thus allowing the facade to be viewed from the adjacent office/cafe space.

“Taking cues from the existing church building and its exposed ribbed timber roof structure, a skeletal timber frame is inserted within the solid masonry walls of the extension to create a vertical, ecclesiastical quality to the space.”

Intended to serve as the terminus of a ‘cultural circuit’ stretching north to the Transport Museum via a planned Govan/Partick footbridge and on to the University of Glasgow, the project will capitalise on moves to extend the Kelvin Walkway by drawing prosperity to the south bank of the Clyde.

Longer-term plans envision the creation of a creative campus incorporating riverfront studios and workshops as part of a landscaped precinct connecting with the river.

An interior timber lattice structure is inspired by the existing church roof
An interior timber lattice structure is inspired by the existing church roof
The windswept site could eventually play host to a creative campus
The windswept site could eventually play host to a creative campus

3 Comments

Alex
#1 Posted by Alex on 6 Feb 2020 at 10:58 AM
It is good to see this nationally important Govan Old Parish Church building expanding its new use as a cultural centre and meeting space. The style of the church was inspired by Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin founded in 1230 and with links to France. That Abbey successfully shows how a church, cloister and ancillary buildings can be grouped. The three storey extension would be better reduced in height and clustered around a square single storey cloister, like the one at the Abbey. It would be good if the cloister could enclose a small garden for contemplation, which also allows views across to the side of the church.
Alex
#2 Posted by Alex on 6 Feb 2020 at 11:03 AM
Cloisters are designed to look inwards to an enclosed garden and are generally single storey so the fenestration and wall detail of the exterior facades of a triple height building would benefit from a different design.
Graeme McCormick
#3 Posted by Graeme McCormick on 6 Feb 2020 at 18:40 PM
The impression of the extension reminds me of the unfortunate 1960s extension to St Albans Cathedral. I’d much prefer to see something more radical

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