St Anne’s Church, Soho
Replacing a pair of metal entrance gates to this Soho church to create an attractive and welcoming entrance with bespoke frameless glass doors.
Ion Glass working on behalf of Upchurch Associates
Presidents’ Award Winner 2017 – Award Contributor
Frameless double glass doors, set into bespoke framing designed to incorporate a large cross, with individually shaped glass panels on either side and shaped glass over panels fitting into the arched entrance.
The original, much bigger, church built on this site dates back to 1686 but the building suffered significant damage in the blitz of 1940. After years as a bomb site the Soho Society raised funds by selling part of the site to build social housing and created the current building, which includes a Community Hall and a simple but attractive chapel.
In 2016 metal entrance gates where replaced with stylish frameless glass doors featuring the church name in bold neon lighting and an unusual and contemporary cross with colour-changing lights in the entrance lobby. The look is bright, clean and modern, accessible and inviting.
The new entrance and foyer won the Presidents Award in the reordering, extension or alteration to church buildings category of the Church Architecture Awards 2017.
The bespoke double glass entrance doors are set into an arched stone opening and designed to accommodate a large cross detail as an integral aspect of the structure.
Fully frameless, the secure glass doors are set off-centre with a wide glass side panel on one side to form part of the cross and a narrow glass panel on the other side. Both glass panels are accurately cut to sit perfectly around the stone bollards that flank the entrance. Above the doors, two shaped glass over panels were installed to sit on either side of the cross and fit around the curve of the arch.
The cross was manufactured for the project in black powder coated stainless steel, slotted to accept the edges to the fixed glass panels to create a very clean, frameless appearance – maximising the impact of the cross itself.
Side lights on the glass doors complement the bold use of neon lighting across the over panel to highlight the name of the church.
Manually operated the glass doors are fitted with heavy duty hydraulic floor springs to enable them to be held open at 900 when in use.
Unusual bespoke push plates in cold cast aluminium were added to the glass doors, featuring hand prints cast from members of the community.
The result is a striking and very modern entrance. Rev'd Simon Buckley, Rector of St Anne's Soho, said: "I am absolutely delighted that this relatively small scheme has had such a big impact, not just on the awards panel, but on the people who repeatedly stop me outside St Anne's now to say they never noticed there was a church here before. Many of them also now come in. I'm thrilled that the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association have given us this award."