Christ Church is the Parish Church of Downend in the Diocese of Bristol, serving a population of over 25,000 people including those living in local communities.
Christchurch, Downend was built in 1831 as a Chapel of Ease to St James Church, Mangotsfield, in whose Parish Downend resided until Christchurch became a Parish Church in 1874, with a Chancel being added to the church in 1914.
Downend can proudly boast the only Boy Scout War Memorial on public land in the Country, erected in 1921 in memory of members of the 1st Downend Scout Troop who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914-18.
Since the second World War, it has grown from its rural beginnings to a large and thriving community area.
The congregation of the parish church wanted to see their place of worship used for performances and other activities and become a centre for the community. The problem was the church was a poorly lit and run-down Victorian building with little flexibility about how its spaces could be used. It needed a complete revamp – but without losing its soul and its role as the heart of the parish community.
Pairing traditional building methods with modern materials, Christ Church was transformed into a stunning flexible space with dramatic new lighting, a beautiful stone floor.
The refurbishment for this Grade II listed church included the levelling of floors to enable full wheelchair access throughout the building, and a new breathable floor comprising recycled glass fibre insulation and a limecrete underfloor heated screed. Bespoke multi-functional oak screens were fitted within existing arches to act as partitions that create different spaces. Overhead halo-style lights provided a statement focal point.
The church project has reached a successful conclusion and is now a light, open and welcoming space. Meanwhile the church’s extension has been revamped and reconfigured to provide offices, function rooms and prayer spaces. A church fit now for the 21st century.
Winners of the Bristol DAC Awards 2019 for ‘Recognising Exceptional Church Project‘.
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