St Dionis Parsons Green
Re-ordering of St Dionis, Parsons Green, London to create a new reception area, office, meeting room and kitchen with a mezzanine floor above
Ion Glass providing all bespoke structural glass; project commissioned by Carden & Godfrey Architects, in conjunction with Caldera Construction.
Bespoke double-glazed external glass door and fixed side windows; a pair of internal double glass doors in switchable glass with infill glazing in switchable glass to the arch above; switchable glass screen with double doors and switchable glass infill panels to the narthex to create a meeting room.
St Dionis was built in 1886, after the demolition of St Dionis Backchurch, a mediaeval church in the City of London which was declared unsafe and demolished in 1878. The proceeds of the sale funded the church in Parsons Green, which still houses the original mediaeval font and pulpit of the city church.
Grade II listed, the church overlooks the green and has a thriving and active community. A re-ordering the church was commissioned to widen still further the scope of local involvement and welcome even more people into the building.
Glass doors and a welcoming reception were designed to improve the initial visual impact of the building and encourage people into the church, whilst the creation of a mezzanine floor above the entrance area has provided valuable additional office space. A switchable glass screen with double doors into the nave provides essential privacy when required whilst keeping the space open and visually welcoming when the glass is clear. The use of the narthex has been enhanced with switchable glass screens and glass infill panels to the arches to create a private space for meetings, discussions or creche facilities.
A kitchen with full catering facilities and toilets were added to the rear of the church with a mezzanine floor above providing additional space overlooking the nave. Other works include the removal of the pews, new flooring and use of decorative timber cladding.
The bespoke glass entrance door was designed to fit the shape of the original door frame, replacing the former wooden door to provide a more welcoming entrance with a clear view of the interior. The pivot hinged glass door is set between two fixed side windows, all framed in bespoke bronze anodised aluminium, including the push plate and threshold. Double glazed, the door is fitted with an external push plate and a full length bespoke wooden handle to the interior. All the glass was finished with custom glass manifestations for safety.
A mezzanine floor to create office space above the entrance was designed to the exact height of the curve of the arch through to the south aisle, to allow for infill glazing to the arch in the office area and a pair of bespoke double glass doors with fixed side panels below. The full span of arched glass can only be seen from the interior of the church. The entire installation was supplied in switchable glass, allowing full visibility of the nave during normal use and immediate privacy when required, with separate switching for the office area for maximum flexibility in use. Back to back door handles were supplied in bespoke wood and a glass manifestation was applied to meet safety requirements.
The narthex was enclosed to create a meeting room with a fully arched central glass screen with glass pivot doors between the nave and the narthex, combined with custom manufactured glass infill panels to the two arched openings on either side. For congruency, the same bespoke door handles were fitted to the exterior of the new meeting room, with matching glass manifestations and use of the same custom designed bronze anodised framing. Again, the decision was made to make the entire installation from switchable glass to provide maximum privacy to the new meeting room.
All the glass had to be precisely measured to fit accurately around the corbels, and the technical specification developed to meet and achieve the challenge of using switchable glass in such a complex design.
A beautiful installation that has significantly transformed St Dionis, fully equipping the church for the 21st century and allowing it to meet a much wider role within the local community. The Vicar, Tim Stilwell, is delighted with the result, especially with regard to the switchable glass saying, "Despite the additional cost, choosing switchable glass was definitely the right decision, providing privacy and safeguarding whenever we need it."