The new community house offers the client a more open and integrated way of living than had previously been possible. The internal layout balances a need for quiet, contemplative areas with the provision of exciting, engaging and generous spaces for public use. Flexible offices, meeting rooms and a library at ground floor are used by members of the order, the neighbouring school, the parish and the public. Accommodation for residents and visitors at first and second floors offers privacy and a sense of homeliness.
The building’s cranked geometry creates a strong sense of enclosure, concealing a secluded landscaped garden and cloister at the rear. A copper-clad chapel sits at the heart of the scheme; its fragmented, finger-like structures reach out into the garden, terminating in a series of unique decorative glass screens, each one framing a carefully composed view of a mature tree. Reinforced by its distinctive, metallic appearance, the chapel performs the role of an architectural ‘linchpin’ - a thoughtfully crafted sanctuary which is central to the building’s form as well as its function.