Giving a Suffolk church a new lease of life

Reverend Simon Pitcher at the St Edmunds's Church. Southwold opening service.
Nicholas Jacob Archit

Reverend Simon Pitcher at the St Edmunds's Church. Southwold opening service. Nicholas Jacob Architects were shortlisted for awards for their work on the revamp. - Credit: Archant

An architect who helped a historic Suffolk church open up its building for community use has been given an award for her work.

Ipswich architect Pippa Jacob wins an award for her work on St Edmund's Church, Southwold
Pictu

Ipswich architect Pippa Jacob wins an award for her work on St Edmund's Church, Southwold Picture: PIPPA JACOB - Credit: NJ Architects

Pippa Jacob from NJ Architects won the title of Young Church Architect of the Year at the 2018 Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association Awards for reordering, renovating and reinvigorating Southwold Church.

Her involvement included the detailed design stage of the project along with carrying out the contract management.

The church is being widely used by community groups and has seen Sunday service attendances swell.

Ms Jacob said: “I am absolutely delighted to have my work recognised in this way but what is even more rewarding is the fact that this project has had such a wonderfully positive impact on the life of the church. They are able to offer better improved services and has led to an increase is worshippers. “The new facilities have also brought in new uses for the church including concerts and events.”


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Reordering projects help many buildings which are neglected, under-used and increasingly marginalised benefit from flexibility, she said.

Projects of this nature chiefly feature the interior of churches, but schemes vary in complexity.

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Common themes include the provision of lavatory and kitchen facilities, the need to replace part, or all, of the pews with chairs and revisions in the presentation of the liturgy. They can also incorporate changes in the lighting, heating, flooring and general decoration of the church.

She said: “The brief for St Edmund’s Church in Southwold was focused on giving the church greater flexibility enabling them to better integrate with the wider community. “It involved creating extensive amenities and reordering the west end of the nave and north and south aisles to include a new tea point and children’s area.”

Detailed consultations were carried out with Historic England, the Diocese Advisory Committee, the Victorian Society, Church Buildings Council and the Borough Council throughout the project.

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