The 2370 sq m project is a redevelopment of St Thomas’ United Reformed Church, situated on Langley Road in the Nascot conservation area. Poorly constructed and not fully accessible, the 1970s church is hard to maintain and is considered no longer fit for purpose. Church members are therefore proposing a new church and community building on the corner of the site with an adjacent development of nine, three-storey houses whose sale will fund the project.
Theis + Khan’s distinctive design is a reference both to religious scrolls and Watford’s history as a paper-making centre. Clad in ceramic tiles, the scrolling church walls will enclose the main worship space and terminate in a spire-like form to provide a landmark on the junction of Langley Road and Stratford Road. Small, coloured glass windows within the scroll will allow shafts of light down into the space within.
Behind the scroll element of the design is the main church building, clad in London stock brick to match many Victorian buildings in the area. This will include a cafe and meeting room on the ground floor and a large gabled sports hall on the first floor.
The housing component of the development stretches along Langley Road in a terrace divided by an access road to church and resident car parking. These four-bedroom houses typically have a gross internal floor area of 180m2 and will be built in a similar yellow/grey brickwork to that of the main church. Massing, materials and detailing are respectful of the conservation area context.
The church’s rear memorial garden will be retained with new gardens added along Langley Road and Stratford Road. The Langley Road boundary wall will be partially lowered to give the church greater visibility in the community.
A spokesman for St Thomas’ Church said:
“The scheme has been evolving during the last two years, and having planning consent for Theis & Khan’s landmark design is an important step to providing accommodation for the Church’s needs and its mission among the local community”.