Dow Jones Architects

Dow Jones Architects

London, GB


Christ Church Spitalfields

Refurbishment of Hawksmoor's crypt to make a performance space, cafe and gallery that connect to the site.

In December 2008 we won an invited architectural design competition for the redevelopment of the crypt of Nicholas Hawksmoor's Grade 1 listed Church at Spitalfields.

The crypt had been subdivided over time into a series of different rooms, and our proposal strips these out, re-unifiying the crypt as one space that relates to the volume of the church above. This allows natural light to enter the centre of the plan, with a series of new enclosures reading as insertions within the volume of the vaulted crypt.

These new enclosures house the private or functional aspects of the brief, and 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.

A new ramped entrance on Commercial Street provides a new entrance into the crypt, connecting it more concretely to the city. The crypt also opens into the gardens on the south side of the church, which are being re-landscaped by Robert Myers Associates.

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Status: Built
Location: London, GB
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Structural Engineer: Momentum
Quantity Surveyors: Pierce Hill
Project Management: Heritage & Community Ltd.
Access Consultants: David Bonnett Associates
Services Engineer: OR Consulting
Conservation Architect: Caroe Architecture
Landscape Design: Robert Myers Associates
Project Management: HTGT
Photographer: David Grandorge