Architect Designs Expandable Church with Moving Walls

( [email protected] ) Aug 30, 2004 11:11 AM EDT

A well-known architect in England has designed a state-of-the-art church that will meet the needs of modern Christianity. In response to a call from Christian magazine Christianity to design “the church of the 21st Century,’ Paul Chapman designed a church with movable walls, glass exterior and space for shops and housing.

The central idea of Chapman’s design is the building’s ability to expand to accommodate a growing congregation. “Fundamental to the design is phased development;” he explains, “a design that allows for expansion both horizontally and vertically. This requires external walls that are easily demountable, and a structure that allows for additional floors.”

Another key feature of Chapman’s design is a contemporary exterior, adopting a “shop window” approach to attract passers-by. “The church shouldn’t be burdened with buildings that easily allow it to be tagged as irrelevant,” he says. “Buildings that are contemporary and modern counter this impression… My designs are transparent, attractive and inviting… views in and out should be maximized, including into the main worship area.” He adds, “The transparency and lighting design will cause the building to glow on dark evenings, like a lighthouse or beacon.”

Perhaps controversially, Chapman also suggests that one way of offsetting the cost of the building is to explore commercial possibilities. “This might include development for other uses,” he says, “such as residential, retail or commercial; or short-term letting of the building. A bookshop and coffee bar might also be included; the flexible nature of the accommodation facilitates letting of rooms to outside organizations.”

Other suggestions include ways to keep costs down, protect the environment and energy efficiency. There are also ideas for underground car parking and seven-day-a-week use.