St Martin’s Church

Churches have always been places where local people can come together and build a sense of community. St Martin’s Church is not only the materialisation of religious beliefs, but also the representation of the society’s potential to create grand things. Therefore our design’s purpose is to give room for the contemporary Brighton and to encourage the conversation between all generations in a receptive and open environment.

The simplicity and gentle approach aims to keep the architectural integrity of the church not affecting its structure and wrapping. Thus the purpose spreads itself activating different areas of the building and promoting various uses.

The main idea for the Church is to create a permanent retail area, as a restaurant or a cafe, to draw a constant number of customers to maintain the vitality of the development. This commercial space is defined by a light metal mezzanine, which enables the user to see the magnificent interior in a different light. This new plateau also can provide the required services and infrastructure for such use.

With an open space in the nave the design gives room for numerous activities, attracting a broad range of people. To enhance this, long curtains were hanged to help separate the areas in many arrangements. The choice to use fabric as an architectural feature alludes to the medieval tapestry and theatrical performances.

For the annex, the proposed expansion preserves the existing façade but overflows a platonic glassed volume, which announces the new uses of the building to the passers-by. This building houses support areas and allows several activities as workshops and classes, while still keeps the current uses.

On the outside, an elegant and thin roof was designed to communicate the new uses to the public. It also can be used as an urban canopy and shelter for eventual fairs. In a literal and metaphorical way, this architectural feature connects the old and the new.

The project, as a whole, has the goal to be feasible and sustainable making drastic changes with minimal and subtle additions. Even more, this reflects on the proposals, as we don’t want to abruptly change the church mechanics, but to incorporate multiple uses that can harmoniously coexist.

design for the Colander competition in Brighton, United Kingdom. This project was in collaboration with Raphael Matta and Roger Peicho.