The first time I saw a project of dwellings in a church already deconsecrated, it caught my attention, but I thought, maybe it´s an isolated case. Up till now, I didn´t have a clue of how many churches (of different religions) were kept empty, without use for lack of funds or because the specific sect or religion had changed the procedures for meetings, or simply because there are too many. So, it is better to sell them to be converted into a different use facility but of course, under severe restrictions.
I understand the typical ones, like ¨no alterations on the facade and style should be made,¨ or to keep the original style, but there´s another very important restriction: Relatives must have rights of access to visit the remains of the deceased. That´s a difficult task...
Even if it is deconsecrated, I would feel that the building has a kind of soul, I don´t feel that the masses and ceremonies can be removed from the building´s (the people´s ) memory just retrofitting the structure, and/ or adding partition walls, or changing interior colors.
An interesting article about this issue has been written by Philippe Ridet at Guardian.co.UK
¨A recent survey conducted on the website propertyfinder.com found that church conversions were the most popular choice among users for a converted living space, with 60% preferring to live in a converted building rather than purpose built accommodation. The survey brought to light some worrying issues also, with church conversions listed among the worst buildings in terms of value and layout. Bear in mind then, that a church conversion is not carte blanche to an exotic, original living style, but that each one must be assessed on its individual merits just like any other property.
Increasingly, cash strapped ecclesiastical bodies are selling off more and more churches. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that in the last 5 years around 500 London churches have been turned into homes. There is no need to jump to the conclusion that the entire country has completely lost its faith. The Victorians have a lot to answer for, apparently they simply built too many - even in their time the churches were half-full but, with money pouring into post-industrial Britain, the building went on unabated.
(...) if you wish to undertake your own church conversion there are a variety of ways to go about this:
- Anglican Churches - Closed churches are described by the Church of England as those no longer required for public worship and thus formally closed under church legislation (the Pastoral Measure of 1983). The aim of the Pastoral Measure is to find alternative uses for those churches in order to avoid their demolition and preserve our national heritage - conversion into housing is just one such alternative use. The Church of England publish a list of closed churches which you can see here.
- Methodist Chapels - In the last 75 years, somewhere in the region of 8,000 Methodist chapels have been closed. There are presently around 100 or so scattered across the UK but with a greater concentration in Cornwall, where the sect was most popular. Many of these were constructed in the 19th century and being smaller than Church of England churches are more suitable to conversion as a single home.
- Buildings at Risk - If you have an excess of time and money and want to take on a really spectacular project then you might want to check out the Save Buildings at Risk register at savebritainsheritage.org
That´s good that this site highly recommends the buyer to hire a specialist architect to deal with the City planners and to design with respect and experience in architectural conservation.
In this video, the reporter says that the Americans are the main market for deconsecrated churches converted into houses. It seems that they consider them as the best expression of Italian art.
REFERENCE for pictures above: Andrea Di Martino
Picture downloaded from http://hopeseguin.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/holy-conversion/
Picture downloaded from http://www.lovemydress.net/blog/2012/03/the-vintage-bride-designer-sale.html
Jakob Culture Church today hosts concerts, poetry and opera after being de-consecrated in 1985. From
An architect that is required to work in ¨adaptive reuse¨ of a church, maybe confronted with a dilemma. Let´s learn more: