St James’ Church, Peckham

The design of the church came about through an extended collaboration with the community. This involved an open investigation into the different nature of worship in Nigeria, Ireland, Vietnam, Poland and the Caribbean. In this way the varied parish community were able to articulate their needs and desires for a new building. This process has lead to a remarkable degree of consensus among parishioners and the project is widely supported.

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The site opens onto three separate streets and the church needs to open onto each aspect in different ways. We have designed a simple plywood waffle structure to make a central nave with side chapels and a community hall. They can be used all together or separately depending on the scale of each event. Here a simple structural principle is elaborated to create a great variety of luminous spaces.

This new church is being built for £1.5m. It is being 85% funded by the development and sale of housing around the site. We have designed the church and the housing, although they will be built separately. Once planning consent has been achieved for the whole development, the housing will be offered to developers to build. This practice has worked together with the parish to create this development framework and to get approval for the process from the Diocese of Southwark.