St Mary's Community Centre, Stoke Newington, London
The community centre at St Mary, Stoke Newington in north London infills a courtyard that formed part of an earlier cloister extension completed in 1996.
Designed by Erect Architecture, the new structure is conceived as an addition to the existing ‘collection’ of buildings that are connected by a circumferential route. It was decided early on to re-use the steel structure of the cloister extension for reasons of sustainability. The new facade builds on this large volume, but dips down strategically to open up views onto the stained-glass window of the vestry building beyond.
The historic walls along the northern and southern edge flank the approach to the centre and set the material context for the new building: coursed rubble with freestone dressings (church) and stock brick with stone dressings (rectory). The materiality of the new facade respectfully completes the palette and hues of the surrounding buildings, whilst the type of brick and detailing are clearly of today.
Protruding glazed bricks from Ibstock, form a subtle pattern of light that responds calmly to the rich tapestry of the original grade II listed building. The facade continues a datum line of the existing church, which is expressed through colour change as well as projection.
White patterned brickwork playfully catches the light and signals the public face of the scheme. It touches down to the ground only to guide visitors to the main entrance. Deep brick reveals provide a transition between indoors and outdoors, as well as window seats that add to the ‘family’ of conversation niches found throughout the building.