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St Silas Church and Housing Case Study

Project Name: St Silas Church and Housing.

Location: Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Client: Byker Bridge Housing Association

Contract Sum: £1.8 million



St Silas Church, which is Grade II Listed, was built in the heart of the shipbuilding community of Byker on the corner of Clifford Street and Burton Street in 1885/1886.

The Church’s future looked unsustainable due to the diminishing congregation when the Parish and Byker Bridge Housing Association (BBHA) decided to collaborate. The Church’s objectives were to increase involvement with the surrounding community, make the most of its resources to cut its running costs and create an income. BBHA needed new head offices and land for housing.

The Parish decided to lease a third of the Church (the North Aisle) to BBHA for their offices. A mezzanine floor was inserted in the North Aisle to double the floor area available to BBHA. This was designed to be reversible with minimum impact on the existing structure.

The offices comprise a reception area, open plan office and acoustically separated interview rooms on the ground floor, with offices and a board room above.

Secondary glazing was installed inside the existing windows to reduce heat loss. The first floor accommodation is double aspect, with semi-circular windows overlooking the nave of the church, providing light and visual interest. Glazed partitions maximise the use of natural light and create a spacious feel to the accommodation.

This scheme won the Lord Mayors Design Award for Refurbishment & Conservation in 2005, and the RICS Renaissance Award for Community Benefit in 2006. The scheme was also short listed for the National RICS awards in 2006 and received a Special Mention Award at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in 2007.


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