New Lease of Life Given to Church Hall

When any building is considered no longer fit for purpose, responsive discourse is required to decide whether to conserve, renovate, or replace. When that building is a dilapidated 1939 Church Hall, much loved by a close knit community, the stakes are raised.

CHURCH HALL DESIGN

Here at HPA we hold forty years’ consultancy experience in heritage and conservation, Church Hall design, and innovative projects provided the expertise which the residents of the picturesque North Lancashire village of Slyne-with-Hest required.

The pioneering plan, which has recently broken ground after seven years of community discussion and dedicated fundraising, proposed complete demolishing and building afresh. This would provide a Hall that the village deserved in terms of use, appearance, quality of build, and environmental efficiency.

The new Church Hall design had to be sympathetic to the adjacent Victorian Grade II Listed St Luke’s Church, designed by acclaimed Architects Paley & Austin. Other heritage area planning considerations included the neighbouring property impact, access, environment, protecting tree species, and even a survey of the local bat population.

Our director, Zoe Hooton, and architect, Hayley Dufton, designed a ‘modern arts and crafts’ scheme. Rather than replicate the adjacent Church, their design aims for ‘sensitive complementary visual differentiation,’ marrying the heritage asset with modern addition.

Practical usage was key, as Zoe explains; “The Hall has to be flexible to support community activities, from ‘café church’ gatherings to table tennis leagues. Sadly, many groups had reluctantly relocated from the old Hall due to draughts, discomfort, safety concerns, and lack of access. It was no longer the hub of the village.”

Designing in flexibility, the large bi-folding glass doors allow viewing and integration between the large main Hall and new café. This is now supported by commercial standard kitchen facilities, while parish staff gain more office and vital storage space throughout the build. Having the foresight to raise the roof by just a few centimetres introduces a game-changing mezzanine gallery area for exhibitions, meetings, workshops, and integrated viewing and participation with the Hall below.

The Church Hall design cleverly responds to community and environmental considerations – this approach is apparent when you enter the building. The welcoming accessible entrance is brought to life internally with innovative contrasting colours, helping those with dementia navigate. Sustainability measures include solar panels to generate power, top grade insulation, and rooflights to minimise artificial lighting.

Zoe concludes: “Now work has started onsite it’s wonderful to harness sensitive modern techniques to revitalise the heart of this brilliant community on our doorstep.”

AS FEATURED ON THE BBC:

To explore our range of heritage and conservation projects, click here.

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