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RIBA Great British Buildings Tour: Bethnal Green Mission Church

11 September 10:00 - 11:00
Organized by: RIBA London
Venue: , Bethnal Green Mission Church
305 Cambridge Heath Rd
E2 9LH

Join RIBA London for an exclusive opportunity to hear more about this RIBA Award winning building from the architect who designed it.


As part of this series of events showcasing 2019's Award winners, Gatti Routh Rhodes Architects are giving a tour of the Bethnal Green Mission Church.


The new Bethnal Green Mission Church (BGMC) offers a ground-breaking model for contemporary places of worship in dense urban environments. Appearing as a robust urban block along Cambridge Heath Road, the building is a complex mixed-use development with a church at its heart. A partnership between BGMC and developers Thornsett, the church and community spaces (including offices for charities, 2 community halls, café, community kitchen, foodbank store and vicarage) are funded by the sale of 14 apartments that sit above them. Replacing a largely inaccessible 1950’s structure with severe maintenance issues, it is located in the centre of a Conservation Area and surrounded by listed buildings. The exterior is defined by a regular concrete grid, with site-laid brickwork arranged in a raking monk bond. This pattern is inspired by the diagonal ribs that form the ceiling of the double-height church space, in themselves a reinterpretation of the cross vaulting in traditional churches. The weaving pattern is also picked up in a blue and green stained-glass window – designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith– as well as the main entrance gates. The community spaces borrow light and volume through overlapping sections to make the most of a complex brief and tight site. Above, each residence enjoys expansive views and has been designed to a very high acoustic and thermal performance to shield occupants from street noise and the adjacent Overground trains. A four-bedroom vicarage on the second floor ensures the vicar is always close to his congregation and its widened corridors and lift access render it fully accessible. The building was constructed using concrete up to the second storey and cross laminated timber above. CLT was selected for its environmental performance, as well as the efficiency and speed of the build and the ability to meet the stringent height restrictions imposed in planning.


This scheme has won a RIBA Regional Award.


image © Jack Hobhouse