The project proposes to convert the Grade I-listed church into an education centre and rehearsal space for the London Symphony Orchestra, which is resident at the Barbican, a few minutes' walk away.
The church was built between 1727 and 1733 and is believed to be the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor and John James, surveyors to the Commissioners of the 50 New Churches Act of 1711. Severe settlement to the north-east corner rendered the building unsafe and it was abandoned following removal of its roof in 1959. Since then it has been subjected to deterioration and vandalism, but is considered by English Heritage to be one of the most important buildings at risk.
The proposals, which have planning and listed-building consent, are currently awaiting funding. Externally the original church will be restored faithfully, except for a new extension in place of the existing vestry. Internally the original volume will be recreated with shallow balconies all round and retractable seating and staging permitting a number of configurations with or without full orchestra, chorus and audience. The crypt will be rebuilt to house a cafe, and basements dug out to provide smaller education spaces or sectional rehearsal rooms and plant. The highest possible acoustic standards will be applied to the project.