Maidstone is the county town of Kent. It is located at the very heart of the ‘garden of England’, which in turn is the gateway to the UK from the European continent. What happens there can affect a very large area. St Luke’s is a vibrant church community that has a substantial campus. It comprises a church building with several halls and a car park – and is close to the town centre. Raymond Hall was asked to prepare a master plan for the campus that would be environmentally sustainable and enable growth as well as greater involvement in the broader community.
His team advised a phased removal of the halls and an extension to the church building that could encompass the maximum volume, whilst ‘loving’ neighbours in adjacent properties. A large, curved roof clad with photovoltaic tiles – that would generate electricity for the church – was proposed with a transparent new main meeting space beneath. Ground source heating could also be used. Smaller rooms in a cloister extension and an administration area in a glazed ‘box’ within the original church building were proposed. With ‘super loos’, a kitchen and servery as well as under croft car parking – all activities would pivot around a garden and a large central welcome area, which – with the aroma of coffee – would be easily accessible from the street.