Result Announced for Bishop Edward King Chapel Competition
Niall McLaughlin Architects has won the competition to design a new College Chapel in Oxfordshire.
Ripon College Cuddesdon and the Oxford Ministry Course combine to make a thriving, vibrant single institution providing theological education and training for ministry. The new Chapel building will be built as part of a major programme of expansion and consolidation of its buildings in order to meet the needs of ministerial formation and Christian education in the 21st century. Other proposed developments include New Teaching and Residential Facilities for Students and the Begbroke Community of Nuns all being designed by architects Hopper Howe Sadler.
The competition brief set out the aspiration for a building of the 'highest architectural quality'. A total of 126 architects from all over the world applied to take part in the competition.
McLaughlin's scheme was the unanimous choice of the Jury Panel. Chair of the Panel and RIBA architect adviser for this competition David Morley said: "The relatively small scale of this project contrasts with its major significance as an opportunity to set new standards for liturgical design. The competition inspired wide interest from the UK and internationally and the Ripon College community were bold in their openness to consider un-traditional designs. This was reflected strongly in both the shortlist and the selection of the winning scheme by Niall McLaughlin. McLaughlin's proposal stood out because of the depth of understanding and inspiration it demonstrated from a strategic to a detailed level. The elliptical shape with its two focal points on the altar and lectern is a brilliantly simple innovative response to the traditional 'college' configuration for a chapel. This simple idea is just part of an approach that is both poetic – 'the first architectural image was of a buoyant, tethered boat' – and technically sophisticated proposing materials such as wicker rainscreen; CNC cutting and Phase Change Material."
The College Principal, Revd Canon Prof. Martyn Percy added: "The Chapel is the heart of any worshipping community. This vision for a new place of worship – with its use of light, space, glass, wood and stone – really captures our hope for the church and the world, and for the shaping of religious and spiritual life. The Chapel forms part of an exciting development plan that will also provide additional accommodation and teaching space for the College as well as closer links with significant local Christian communities. We will be undertaking a public consultation shortly that will be informed by a range of proposals being designed and co-ordinated by Hopper Howe Sadler."
The four other practices shortlisted to the design phase of the competition were : Massimiliano Fuksas Architetto ; Sarah Hare Architects ; Terry Pawson Architects Ltd ; and Ushida Findlay Architects.
The Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist are donors of the Chapel and will be moving to the college campus on its completion. They write : "From a remarkable field, Niall's design not only stood out for its intrinsic merits but also showed that in him we would have an architect who understands our language and our dream for this chapel. In our brief we emphasised that this chapel must be foremost a place for the cultivation of personal prayer as well as of public worship. We knew that what was needed was not just a building but a work of art which would touch the spirit. We are thrilled that, with Niall's design we are well on the way to realising our dream."
Niall McLaughlin and his team will now work closely with the College and their team to develop and deliver the winning design.
On his win Niall McLaughlin commented: "It was a pleasure to take part in this competition. We had a beautiful site, a thoughtful brief and a really engaged client. The shortlist was varied and extremely strong. We tried to go back to first principles, thinking of an appropriate setting for prayer and community. Our design is one of the best that we have done. We are looking forward to developing it with the project team."