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Floating Church

by Denizen Works

Client Diocese of London

Awards RIBA London Award 2021

This project has been shortlisted for the 2021 Stephen Lawrence Prize

© Gilbert McCarragher

A barge rather than a building, this mobile community facility occupies and makes use of the city’s underused canal infrastructure. The concertina roof structure is kinetic, allowing it to lie flat so that the barge can pass under bridges when moving between destinations.

Inside, there is good head height for a canal vessel, providing for a range of functions from cinema to church. A central rooflight oculus creates a pleasant pool of light to the main function area, complemented by the transparent sides of the pop up roof which let in additional daylight.

The joinery details are neutral and carefully considered to allow sufficient storage. Where there is decoration, it features Art Deco design motifs and patterning finished to a high quality.

The Art Deco theme is continued on the outside through the colour scheme and horizontal stripes. When illuminated from the inside at night, the pop up roof glows like a beacon.

The scheme was conceived as a product rather than a traditional building and has successfully maximised all the space inside and around the boat. Its flexibility of uses ensures that it can fulfil its brief to be a vital community asset for the neighbourhoods along the London canal network.

Internal Area 45 m²

Contractor Turks Shipyard

Marine Fit Out ANR Developments

Naval Architect Tucker Designs

Sailmaker Jeckells the Sailmakers

Furniture Designers Plyco

Lighting Design Arup

Consulting Engineer Elliot Wood

Junior Consultant ATB

© Gilbert McCarragher
© Gilbert McCarragher
© Gilbert McCarragher
© Gilbert McCarragher
© Denizen Works
© Denizen Works
© Denizen Works
© Denizen Works
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