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Hudson Architects provide salvation in Chelmsford

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Work on Hudson Architects’ new home for The Salvation Army Citadel Corps in Chelmsford has completed

The new centre provides 900 sqm of accommodation and replaces the mission’s former premises, which it had occupied on the site since 1974.

Costing £2 million, the building serves a dual function, reflecting the two sides of the mission. Its specially designed assemby hall provides a place for worship as well as space for recreational facilities to cater for the wide range of community outreach activities that The Salvation Army provides. The plan of the building recognises that these two functions are interconnected as part of the vision of the charity and offers flexibility and separation to permit activities to function simultaneously.

The building incorporates an indoor sports hall, outdoor play area, lounge, kitchen and foyer with reception café facilities arranged around a 320-seater worship hall, with administration offices located on the first floor.

Hudson Architects, in conjunction with engineers Techniker have used a cross-laminated timber panel system pioneered by manufacturers KLH of Austria. The structural system is made from sustainably sourced timber and wall and floor elements arrive on site pre-cut to be crane lifted into position. Quick assembly time allowed the buildings frame to be erected in 24 days.

The building is cloaked in zinc, lending it a ‘very robust toughened and urbanistic character that distinguishes it from the surrounding brick buildings’. The zinc shell is broken by a glazed panel that links the interior cafe space with the street, ‘projecting an image of openness crucial to the work of the organisation’.

Postscript (November 18, 2009)

The Chelmsford centre landed the ACE/RIBA Award for Religious Architecture 2009, seeing off a strong shortlist including: Eric Parry Architects’ St Martin-in-the-Fields, London; Anthony Rossi’s Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation, Little Walsingham,Norfolk; and Theis & Khan’s Lumen Centre, United Reform Church, London.

The award was presented to director Anthony Hudson at an awards ceremony held at Bishopsgate Institute, London on Wednesday 18 November. It is the third architectural award won by the project; earlier this Autumn the project was awarded two RIBA East Awards in the
category of Community Architecture and the overall award for the East of England Building of the Year 2009.

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