A STATE OF THE ART COMMUNITY CHURCH
Dorchester Community Church replaces a church in the centre of Dorchester in which the congregation used to gather. It was a small church in the centre of a terrace of houses, but under pressure from big retail businesses all the houses were demolished, leaving only the church, until it too was eventually due for demolition.
The new church is located on the outskirts of the new town of Poundbury. Constructed by the Duchy of Cornwall’s development team as a shell and since left empty, the building needed to be completely fitted out as a state of the art community church, with all the facilities a modern church would expect to offer.
But after an unsuccessful tender period during which all the bids came in with unaffordable budgets, the project was in danger of having to be abandoned. So instead of tendering, we went in and negotiated. We worked closely with the quantity surveyor and architect to try and find a revised design that was achievable on the budget, and we succeeded. During construction we also opened up the site for a number of fundraising events in which the community were invited in to view progress and help raise money.
Our work included structural alterations and new internal walls, as well as the installation of electrics and plumbing, a new AV system and an entire restaurant-standard kitchen. Huge new sliding doors make the church’s spaces flexible, while underfloor heating provides ambient warmth. The building now includes a café that can function separately, with a full kitchen whose contemporary design includes exposed beams and ducts that give a stripped back industrial look.
The new community building is finally complete, a welcoming, light and adaptable space that offers traditional church facilities as well as music and performance spaces, a children’s crèche, and meeting rooms for local societies and businesses. It is a true community hub.