Many people think that the church community is shrinking. The rapid growth of pentecostal churches across South London proves that that conclusion is not always correct. One Elim church rapidly outgrew its brick chapel and timber-framed hall on a site in Allerford Road, Catford in south east London. Raymond Hall was asked to design a contemporary and environmentally sustainable replacement that could be carried out in stages. The consequence is the scheme illustrated.
Facing south toward the road and west toward the adjacent River Ravensbourne, the new building consists of five sections that can be built in sequence as funding permits. Each comprises an extendable central space that can be sub-divided for flexibility. With support zones – housing staircases, lifts, toilets, storage and mechanical/electrical equipment – to its east and west, the building is highly sound and thermally insulated. With two further floors for a bible school to the north and administration floor to the south, the design is highly compact and a good neighbour. Energy generation would be from a solar and photovoltaic roof and water and ground source heating.