Unorthodox plans win church competition

A BURY St Edmunds man has created an award-winning design for a hi-tech £7million church on the outskirts of Norwich.Stuart Jones's design for the Norwich Family Life Church scooped the best architecture project in East Anglia crown at the recent Creative East awards, hosted by TV personality Clive Anderson.

A BURY St Edmunds man has created an award-winning design for a hi-tech £7million church on the outskirts of Norwich.

Stuart Jones's design for the Norwich Family Life Church scooped the best architecture project in East Anglia crown at the recent Creative East awards, hosted by TV personality Clive Anderson.

The plans are due to be submitted to the local authority at the end of this month, and the church is hoping to start building later this year, subject to planning approval.

Mr Jones, 30, who is training as an architect at East Anglian architectural firm Feilden and Mawson, was given what he described as “a once in a lifetime” challenge to design a church which would be an eye-catching landmark community building and contemporary, airy and informal.


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He was given a blank sheet of paper with no budget constraints for the project, and a brief to design a church without the traditional ecclesiastical trappings for a former hospital site at Drayton, set in a river valley.

The building, which includes a worship centre built around a huge multi-media auditorium, will replace a former church centre which was burned to the ground in February 2006.

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“To be given such an open brief on such a project is most unusual,” said Mr Jones.

“It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. At the same time, to be given a blank sheet of paper on which you could draw almost anything is a huge challenge.”

The clients' enthusiasm for his proposals had been “a telling factor” in developing the project, he said.

“It helps immensely that the clients had complete faith in the scheme. They were delighted we entered the scheme for the Creative East design awards and even came along to the dinner. If anything, they cheered even louder than we did when it was announced that we had won,” he said.

Mr Jones, who has worked for the firm for five years, and is based at its Cambridge and Norwich offices, works across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

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