“Lean, mean and green”; that was the message from a meeting on the redevelopment of St John’s Waterloo in early October. Engineers, architects and building specialists convened on October 7th to discuss the redevelopment of the landmark building in the heart of Waterloo. The project, nearly a decade in the making, involves the complete upgrade of the large 19th-century church and crypt.
Architect Christopher Burton of Eric Parry Architects opened the event, drawing attention to the new level of detail in the plans, with advanced spec on everything from energy efficiency and sustainability, to lighting, security and acoustics.
A carbon-neutral crypt will be a stand-out feature in the new-look St John's, made possible by a “lean, mean and green” approach, said Peter Roberts of OR Consulting Engineers. The crypt, with a suite of workspaces, rehearsal rooms and a gallery, will make use of the latest low-carbon technology, including air-source heat pumps and microgeneration photo voltaic roof panels.
“We want to be an exemplar to other churches,” said Canon Giles Goddard. “So we are going much further than we need to in an effort to optimise the systems of the building and offset our carbon footprint, even making a contribution to the grid where possible.”
Creating a sense of welcome and connectivity emerged as a crucial design element, with a spectacular circular staircase, designed by Alan Baxter Associates, properly linking the nave with the crypt. A welcoming foyer, also open to the public, will feature accessible seating, a lift and upgraded facilities throughout.
Lucie Zalberg of Gillieron Scott outlined the acoustic treatments designed to improve the overall sound in the main hall and insulate the various spaces in the crypt. In the main hall, a state-of-the-art lighting rig designed by Charcoal Blue, will allow the building to move seamlessly from worship space to performance venue.
Steve Clarke of Coniston, the award-winning contractor which will oversee the final build, said the most interesting challenge would be catering to the rich variety of users of the building. St John’s is home to Southbank Sinfonia, Waterloo Festival and The Bridge at Waterloo, as well as and numerous performance groups and small arts organisations. “It's unusual for a contractor to be involved this early in the project,” he said. "We are thrilled to be on board."