Christchurch Ware: 160-year-old building renewed and revitalised

Dave HallByDave Hall

Christchurch Ware: 160-year-old building renewed and revitalised

Eleven years after making first contact with a leading firm of chartered architects at CRE, members of Christ Church, Ware are making full use of their revitalised church building.

Closed for almost a year, while the Grade 2 listed 160-year-old building in Hertfordshire was gutted, the church re-opened at the end of November last year.

Martin Dudley, the church’s operations manager, described the choice of MEB Design to oversee the £1.2m project as ‘a wise decision.’ Church representatives made contact with the company at CRE and when the major redevelopment project was mooted, proved ‘highly capable, calling in other companies in areas where extra expertise was needed,’ added Martin.

The church was gutted to its foundations. Flooring, heating and electricity were all stripped back and the old pews replaced by chairs. 

‘With new flooring, heating system, lights, toilets, a kitchen and the addition of a balcony it proved a major project,’ said Martin. As the lockdown eased, new chairs made it easier to implement social distancing. The sound and vision system meant services could be live streamed for those unable to attend.

Paul Chester, a director at MEB Design, said: ‘The project presented a number of difficulties, not least because the Victorian building was in a conservation area. It suffered from dilapidated fabric and the heating delivery system was spent in particular. It communicated an unhelpful message.’

One of MEB Design founders, Mark Eddison, was in charge of the project and managed to overcome many difficulties. The new layout works liturgically. Gone are inflexible pews and there is space for carers to look after babies and toddlers during services. The chancel now provides an appropriate area for smaller meetings. There is proper space for a music group and all areas are backed up by modern communication equipment.

No wonder MEB Design see architecture as ‘an adventure, and enjoying creativity is at the heart of what we do.’

Click here for more information.

Click here to watch MEB’s Mark Eddison and Joel Callow from QODA Consulting lead the CRE At Home 2020 seminar entitled Climate change: how can church buildings be best adapted to meet the challenge?

• MEB Design will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Photo: Christ Church, Ware revitalised

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CRE South West 2021
17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

About the author

Dave Hall

Dave Hall author