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Fathom wins approval for terracotta-clad church extension in Woking

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Emerging practice Fathom Architects has been granted planning consent to revamp and extend a Grade II-listed church in central Woking, Surrey

In 2018 the Southwark-based practice was selected ahead of Purcell and Hackney’s Gibson Thornley Architects to win the commission to upgrade the Christ Church, a historic redbrick church on Jubilee Square.

The scheme involves the addition of a café, bookshop, conference facilities and youth centre, plus changes to the routes through the building, creation of flexible and simpler spaces, and a new entrance that celebrates the central timber framed nave.

According to the practice, Fathom’s design creates distinctions between the various functions of the church with a saw-tooth roof profile derived from the shape and patterns of the existing building. Detailed terracotta cladding defines the public uses, complementing the red brick of the listed church.

The first service took place at the site on New Years Day 1889 and the building was consecrated in June 1893.

Before appointing Fathom, the church had been struggling to resolve planning issues with Historic England.

After winning the design competition in early 2018, the practice had consultations with Historic England. Taking on board their comments, the practice gave ‘more solidity to the interface’ between the church and the two-storey extension, resulting in the heritage body issuing a letter of support. This enabled the architects to submit the proposals to Woking Council. The local authority received no objections and they granted planning under delegated powers.

Justin Nicholls of Fathom Architects said: ‘This is a dream project for Fathom as it brings together three areas we’re particularly interested in – a sensitive historic setting, a strong design brief and an ambitious end-user.’

Steve Roberts, secretary of Woking Christ Church parochial church council said: ‘We selected Fathom based on their fresh ideas and bold designs. They have understood our vision, blending modern design with the heritage aspects of our building very well and have been able to gain the support of our stakeholders. They have grappled with the complexities of the project, bringing forward good, pragmatic solutions.’

Woking front model

Woking front model

Fathom Architects’ approved proposals to extend and revamp the Grade II listed Christ Church in Woking - model, front view

Project data

Location Christ Church, Jubilee Square, Woking, Surrey
Local Authority Woking Borough Council
Type of project
Church, cafe, bookshop, conference facilities, youth centre
Christchurch PCC
Project manager
Ridge and Partners
Fathom Architects
Planning Consultant
Pegasus Group
Structural engineer
M&E consultant
Qoda Consulting
Cost consultant Ridge and Partners
Fire consultant
Jeremy Gardner Associates
Acoustic consultant
Sandy Brown Associates
CDM adviser
Ridge and Partners
Gross external floor area
Gross internal floor area 
Funding The project is being funded by the church
Total cost Undisclosed

00 ground floor updated parking

00 ground floor updated parking

Fathom Architects’ approved proposals to extend and revamp the Grade II listed Christ Church in Woking - ground floor plan

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