Birstal Methodist Church – “Walk in the Light”
This Methodist Church on the outskirts of Leicester was struggling with a physical disconnect between the Church and the community who are welcomed throughout the week into their adjacent concert hall, lounge and coffee shop facilities. The problem being created by having different entrances for the main church building and for the community facilities; the entrance for which being described by one director at Archangel as; ” the worst entrance to a church building I have ever seen”. It is safe to say that the small, dark, low space enclosed by a wrought iron gate was never intended to be the main entrance to the wealth of community facilities the church built as an extension in the 1990s, but over time this emerged as the natural place to enter the building from a practical point of view – even if the building was saying the complete opposite!
Archangel proposed a small extension with a stainless steel canopy and internal alterations to help the building address the public more effectively and make it clear where the entrance can be found. Internally the exposed brick walls were plastered, the ceiling opened up to the pitched roof, a pair of roof lights installed and, crucially, two sets of glazed double doors from the newly created lobby into the church. One entrance space for all areas.
The new light, tall and enlarged lobby space provides the church with a place to extend a much better gesture of welcome to the people attending their groups throughout the week and, now that the inside of the worship space can be seen from the lobby, reminds people that the community facilities and groups that happen there are in someway connected to why the church is there.
Birstall methodist church named this project ‘Walk in the Light’ as a response to their aims for the scheme and Archangel’s design.
Main Contractor: D.W.Hicks Building Co Ltd.
Structural Engineer: Diamond Wood & Shaw Ltd