St. Patrick’s Worship & Recreation Centre





  • Area:  542 sq m
  • Completion:  2005

The challenge was how to sensitively impose a substantial building on a mature elevated sylvan site and how to connect it to a beautiful stone nineteenth century Church.

So that the new building might not detract from the Church it is set back behind the building line.  Its mass is fragmented by means of short lengths of wall and disparate roofs, being the language of the Church.  Essentially the new building makes reference to the Church by way of a similarly proportioned major volume expressed as a composed gable to the East together with a series of lesser spaces on either side, each with its own roof.   The roofs are respectfully, conventionally orthogonal but they are supported at the gables on timber columns and trusses rather than masonry, thereby allowing the walls beneath to curve and skew to frame and allow ever changing views and light.  The Church structural gridlines are extended through the new building and are expressed by the interplay of the timber columns and the stone buttresses.

Apart from the roof of Blue Bangor slates other materials and finishes are deliberately different.  The walls are of masonry self-finished with coloured render apart from the dominant curved East end which is clad with iroko.  The gable columns and trusses are of laminated pine to evoke lightness despite their structural integrity.  The glazed foyer link comprises grey aluminium curtain wall sections to transcend old and new.  The cill of the original transept window was raised to allow the doors to connect the worship and recreation spaces.

Client’s Comments (2006) :
“Increasingly in recent times the need arose for one integrated area, providing both the centre for worship and also all the other facilities which are needed to serve the parish and reach out to the total community.  In functional terms a major space was required, connected to the Church and suitable for the playing of badminton and accommodating large gatherings together with a number of meeting rooms and ancillary facilities.

As the new building began to be developed with its intrinsic comfort levels becoming apparent the project extended to the Church where a geothermal underfloor heating system has now been installed and the lighting levels have been greatly improved.  The provision of loose chairs has provided a welcome flexibility, previously impossible with rigid pews.  The opportunity also was taken to reorder the chancel.

The new facilities are open just a few months and are now almost in continual use.  The range of activities has surpassed all expectations and includes Mothers’ Union, Parents and Toddlers group, Sunday school, Bible study, mid-week Holy Communion in the Quiet room, Girls Brigade, Brownies, ballet, badminton, table tennis, youth club, Irish Country Women’s Association, Meals on Wheels, speech and drama, yoga, pilates, tai chi, stage school, blood transfusion service, weddings and  art exhibitions.”