Christ Church Crypt in Spitalfields, London Historic Building Interior, Proposal, Images
Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt
East London London Church Architecture – design by Dow Jones Architects
post updated 30 Jan 2021 ; 28 Jul 2016
Christ Church Crypt Spitalfields London
Christ Church Crypt Spitalfields
Design: Dow Jones Architects
Wood Awards 2016 Building Shortlisted
Photos: David Grandorge
Twenty outstanding buildings have been selected for the Wood Awards 2016 shortlist, featuring some of Britain’s best architectural designs in wood.
The shortlist will be showcased at 100% Design on 21-24 Sep at London Olympia.
The winners will be revealed at the 45th annual Wood Awards ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall on 22 Nov.
This project redevelops the crypt at Christ Church Spitalfields, a Grade I listed building by Nicholas Hawksmoor, completed in 1729, and widely regarded as his masterpiece.
The use of European oak in the crypt space is inspired by Hawksmoor’s use of materials in the church above but with contemporary detailing. The new lightweight, reversible timber structures have been designed to be discrete.
The design and placement of the unvarnished oak walls makes a clear distinction between the old and new and creates open views along the length and width of the space. Hierarchy is created by having two types of paneling.
The walls to the primary spaces are similar to plank and muntin walls with staggered boards. In the back of house areas, the walls are detailed as flush tongued and grooved.
Christ Church Crypt Spitalfields Renewal – Building Information
Architect: Dow Jones Architects
Client/Owner: The Rector & PCC, Christ Church Spitalfields
Structural Engineer: Momentum Engineering
Main Contractor/Builder: Coniston Ltd
Joinery Company: Icklesham Joinery Ltd
Wood Supplier: Timbmet Group Ltd
Wood Species: European Oak
Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt photos from Dow Jones Architects
Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt Building information from Wood Awards
9 Jan 2009
Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt, London
Location: Spitalfields, North East London
Design: Dow Jones Architects
Address: Commercial St, London E1 6LY
Phone: 020 7377 2440
Images, 9 Jan 2009
In December 2008, Dow Jones Architects won an invited competition to redevelop the crypt of Christ Church, Hawksmoor’s grade I listed church in Spitalfields. The church above was substantially restored by Purcell Miller Tritton in 2004. The crypt has been used latterly as a shelter for homeless men, and also provides a meeting and prayer space for the parish. It is brick vaulted with limestone piers, with some natural light from the existing windows.
Our proposal places three enclosures inside the crypt, which house the private or functional aspects of the brief, and create a series of communal spaces in between. These enclosures are made of oak, responding to Hawksmoor’s use of joinery in the church above to make the areas of inhabitation – stairs, window seats and balconies – that reconcile the giant order of the church with the human scale. The enclosures in the aisle contain the shop, w.c.s, kitchen, green room and stores; the top of these enclosures align with the top of the piers, allowing natural light from the side windows to light the central spaces. The third enclosure at the east end is the chapel; it is marked out by its form which follows the form of the vaulting.
The crypt is entered via a generous ramp accessed from the street which enters through the west door and runs into the heart of the crypt. We are proposing that the ramp and the floor establish a new ground within the space, and are made of terrazzo with crushed limestone chips.
We imagine the crypt space operating like a small town, with the café space being like a market square, a point of orientation and collection, with the hall and chapel around it. The organisation is sufficiently robust and flexible to allow the crypt to be used in many different ways. Like a small town, it has everyday happenings – a meeting in the hall, prayers in the chapel, lunch in the café – and is transformed for particular events – a theatre performance spilling out into the aisles and café in the interval, the great doors opening from the hall into the café for a huge gathering, a special service followed by a meal in the café.
Christ Church Crypt Design images / information from Dow Jones Architects 090109
Christ Church Crypt designers : Dow Jones Architects
Location: Spitalfields, London, England, UK
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Date built: 1715-29
Nicholas Hawksmoor, Architect
photo © Adrian Welch
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Christ Church Spitalfields architect – Nicholas Hawksmoor
photo © Nick Weall
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