McCauley Daye O’Connell Architects were appointed to design the expansion of a commercial client's offices on Abbey Street into the adjacent disused Presbyterian Scots Church which is a protected structure. The client wanted to stay in its current location where it had a long history and sense of place so it needed to adapt and re-use the church and adjacent church hall, which had fallen into disrepair and were subjected to vandalism.
The key concept and challenges of the dynamic design were to respect and preserve the significant cultural, religious, historical and architectural heritage of the church and its ancillary buildings whilst meeting the client’s requirements for a new innovative and sustainable office extension. This extension would need to fully integrate with their existing office accommodation, allowing the company to provide improved and sustainable facilities. As a commitment to inner-city renewal in this area the church and church hall are being completely refurbished and returned to full usage.
The new design positions the office as a public entrance foyer in the existing church making it the primary public zone and entrance foyer for the building. It also provides new office floors suspended above the existing original church hall, all contained within a contemporary triangular exo-skeleton lattice design which provides the external structure, creating a building which is light and transparent and contrasts and compliments the original gothic church design.
The design of the building uses the best conservation practice which incorporates a mix of highly insulated opaque and glass facade panels, natural ventilation through the perforated facade panels, good natural lighting, fully integrated solar panels in the roof system and rainwater harvesting.