Reflections; The Community and New Sectors

Published on 30th March 2022 by Wendy Perring

"Church architecture describes visually the idea of the sacred, which is a fundamental need of man." Mario Botta

Exploring New Sectors

We love tackling interesting projects at PAD studio, even more so when they are in new sectors. So when Harbour Church , a young vibrant HTB church plant, based in Portsmouth and surrounding areas, approached us we were extremely excited. They had a desire to look at a major refurbishment and revitalisation of All Saints’ Church, in Portsmouth City Centre to bring the space up to date with modern practice and activating underused spaces for the community.

By working in collaboration with our clients we are able to recognise what they are truly striving for, translating what might be abstract in their heads into a beautiful, physical building. This is why we place great importance on talking in detail at the initial stages and researching people and place.

All Saints’ was built in 1827-28, predominantly from Portland stone, but was damaged in the Second World War and restored between 1950-1975. The current layout does not accommodate a growing congregation or suit Harbour Church’s ethos. Our aim has been to increase the churches capacity, introduce new and refurbished office spaces for use by the church and the community. Critically creating new breakout and social spaces including a new social café/bar space for the local community.

 “Realise the potential of client dreams into beautiful buildings.” – PAD studio

 Understanding New Processes

As an ecclesiastical building, the permissions process is different, and PAD studio are working closely with Harbour Church and the Portsmouth Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC are responsible for the protection of church buildings as part of our national heritage but also seek to ensure parishes have functioning buildings enabling worship. 

It has been a challenging, educational and rewarding process. Juggling the requirements of a thoroughly modern organisation with the inherent constraints of a listed and historic church building, particularly one with such a prominent presence in the city. The project is currently under review by the DAC and we are looking forward to developing the scheme further in 2022.

We believe that great quality architecture adds value, both emotional value and financial. It enhances our sense of well-being, the value of this is difficult to quantify in monetary terms. However, our design skills also add real value in investment terms as the financial benefit of great design increases the value of the site and maximises your investment.

"There is great mystery in a church. For me, there is a great privilege to be confronted with the design of a church because it shelters the most powerful themes of humanity: birth, marriage, death."

Mario Botta

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