St Martin of Tours, Edinburgh

Oliver Chapman Architects were invited to prepare feasibility options for a series of interventions within the St Martin of Tours Episcopal Church in Dalry. 

A package of grants and interest free loans were arranged with Energy Saving Trust Scotland, that sought to improve the heat loss performance of the church and optimise the design of the heating system that made the most use of renewable energy.

Our proposals sought to realise the church’s ambitions to consolidate space for the congregation but also further flexibility throughout the building for a number of voluntary organisations and a varied programme community events. Key challenges involved accommodating new kitchen and crèche facilities within the existing nave which was to be used both by the church and for classes by the local community but yet defining an identity for the new worship space. The design realized the requirement for universal access throughout and formed new meeting and work spaces within the basement.

The worship space was defined by a contemporary chandelier and ‘cloak’ within the reredos, creating a cylinder of light reminiscent of the atria within the gothic Basilique Saint-Martin in Tours. A series of Sliding veils allow the space to be revealed and concealed depending on either its community or ceremonial use.