Bath Abbey and Bath based architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have been jointly awarded the Presidents’ Award at the first National Churches Awards on the 24th October at Mercer’s Hall, London. The Award honours excellence and creativity in church architecture. The President’s Award is for Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project, and was given for the best example of new design in re-ordering, alterations, extensions and new buildings which are specifically for liturgical use.
Bath Abbey has been the centre for Christian faith in the UNESCO City of Bath for more than 1,300 years. The Footprint Project, ensuring that the Abbey remains for future generations, has been developed with architects Feilden Clegg and Bradley Studios. The aims of the Project were to repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and provide new, improved spaces and facilities to ensure the Abbey is more sustainable, hospitable and useable for local residents, worshippers and visitors alike.
A new scheme of energy efficient LED lighting has been installed throughout the Abbey interior. This reduces energy consumption and allows the refined and unique interior of Bath Abbey to be fully appreciated.
The Abbey has also made use of the Roman Great Drain, which carries over 1 million litres of hot spring water each day, as a low carbon heat source. The judges recognised the immense challenges and complexity of the project as well as the innovation behind the heating scheme.
Beneath the Abbey, in the Grade I listed pavement vaults and in the adjacent Grade II listed Georgian terrace, spaces have been reorganised and new spaces created, to suit the future needs of the Abbey.
Transformational improvements to accessibility, sustainability and hospitality have been made, for everyone using and visiting the building, with new flexibility for worship and events incorporated to help ensure the Abbey remains relevant to contemporary life and secures its future.
The Presidents’ Award, an historic silver Chalice and Paten, will be lent to Bath Abbey for a year and it also receives a £500 prize. The Award was presented by Andrew Wood, President of the National Churches Trust and Luke March, Vice President of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association. The judges commented that they felt the refurbishment of Bath Abbey had been innovate, sensitive and elegant.
Of the award, Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey says: “We are immensely proud that Bath Abbey and the Footprint Project have been recognised with this award. The Footprint Project has been an important part of the Abbey’s recent history, to allow us to welcome future generations. As a focal point of worship and pilgrimage in the city of Bath, we are excited to expand our warm welcome to worshippers and visitors alike.”
Executive Director of Bath Abbey, Frank Mowat, who represented Bath Abbey at the award ceremony in London says “I am proud to collect this award alongside Alex Morris of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on behalf of Bath Abbey. It has been a long journey to reach this point, and we are excited to soon unveil our new Discovery Centre, the final part of the Footprint Project, next year.”
Architecture winners in photo : Frank Mowatt (Bath Abbey), Luke March (National Churches Trust), Emma Mullen (St Anns Gate Architects), Alex Morris (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios), Andrew Wood (EASA)
Photo credit: National Churches Trust and Mike Swift