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St John’s Waterloo, Lambeth

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Eric Parry Architects declutters early 19th century Greek Revival church from some unsympathetic late additions with thoughtful restoration

St John's Waterloo.
St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects

2024 RIBA London Award

St John’s Waterloo, Lambeth
Eric Parry Architects for St John’s Waterloo
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 1727m2

Eric Parry Architects was chosen for the renewal of the grade II* listed St John’s Waterloo following its success at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square. Fourteen years on, the beautifully restored early 19th century Greek Revival church, complete with its historically significant postwar paintings by German-Jewish refugee artist Hans Feibusch, has now emerged. This project is testament to the care and perseverance of the vicar, the local community and the architects in reinstating the full potential of an underused church over more than a decade. Their work has decluttered it from its unsympathetic late additions, resulting in simple, elegant spaces that will serve its congregation for many years to come.

  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
1234

The architects have introduced a glazed partition below the organ’s gallery level, which forms an open and inviting entrance, replacing the gloomy, wooden box-like lobby that was there previously. This new, larger entrance provides better access and generous space for tea and coffee breaks. In combination with a glazed sliding entrance door installed between the two original front doors, it also allows the evening sun to penetrate part of the main hall for the first time in decades. 

  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
  • St John's Waterloo.
    St John's Waterloo. Credit: Photography by Dirk Lindner for Eric Parry Architects
12345

The sanctuary was lowered, and stone paving carefully re-laid to reflect the building’s original 1820s design by architect Francis Bedford. Much-needed storage spaces have been created in the form of four small pavilions positioned against the side walls. The overcrowded end wall and altar have been rearranged to focus all attention on the central murals, painted by Feibusch when the church was rebuilt after its wartime bombing. The previous coloured milky glass panes have been replaced with clear panels, allowing much more natural light to flood the nave and improving the internal light. Even on an overcast February day, the jury found a light, uplifting interior. A new insulated roof, incorporating 100 square metres of solar panels, provides more than half the energy used by the refurbished crypt.

These touches show a genuine consideration and empathy for the church’s needs and those of its many different users. The project looks effortless, but the craftsmanship, care and attention to detail that have been applied here are exceptional.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

 

Credits

Contractor Buxton Building Contractors

Structural engineer Alan Baxter

Environmental/M&E engineer OR Consulting

Acoustic engineer Gillieron Scott Acoustics

Theatre consultant CharcoalBlue

 

Credit: Eric Parry Architects
Credit: Eric Parry Architects
Credit: Eric Parry Architects
Credit: Eric Parry Architects
Credit: Eric Parry Architects
Credit: Eric Parry Architects

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