St. Mark’s Stirling
St Mark's Parish Church (Church of Scotland)
Future Use Options Appraisal for re-imagined church facility
The church asked us for options which would refresh and re-imagine their current site, to create a friendly and welcoming spiritual space, with a clear focus on community. Flexibility, sustainability, art, technology, gardens, and a bustling café were all clear aspirations which the church sought to incorporate into this future vision.
The preferred option divides the church site in two, suggesting potential to develop the land or 1930s church hall building to the rear of the main church, into housing to help fund improvements to the main building and to assist in improving security around the church.
It is proposed the front of the site is developed as the church with two new wings sitting on either side of the sanctuary. These wings extend out to the road and open out creating a welcoming front which engages the street and community.
Flexible spaces, meeting rooms, a café and hall are accommodated within the wings. The area of the church is compact but all of the church’s activities can still be accommodated across the variety of spaces proposed. This provides the church with a manageable scale of building in terms of funding and maintenance.
Included in the study was a list of possible funding opportunities available for this type of project.
St. Mark’s is a vibrant church community, with a heart for serving the local community, and the report we have carried out is the first step towards developing a facility which can meet this passion and vision.
The main church building fronting on to Drip Road was designed by the Church of Scotland Home Board Architect, Harry Taylor and completed in 1966. Prior to this, the Church Hall building, situated to the rear, was the place of worship and all other related activity. This building was designed in early Gothic style by John Stewart and completed in 1938. Neither of the buildings are listed and have been altered over the years to accommodate church and community activities.
A building fabric survey carried out in 2015 found the buildings to be in reasonable condition, but made recommended actions.
In response to this brief initial ideas and options were developed, which were fed back to the church and discussed. Based on these discussions two options were chosen to be developed further.
The process that we went through with St Mark’s in order to generate the options appraisal was one of small steps, sharing and discussing ideas at each stage. Initial briefing workshops were used to distil aspirations and practical requirements.
We developed the original brief which the church had prepared through two working sessions with the steering group. The first session focussed on their aspirations as a church and the types of activities carried out. The second session focussed on activities, both present and aspirational, and the best setting for these activities.
Four distinct approaches emerged for how the design could progress which were presented back to the steering group for discussion. Two preferred options were agreed upon and St. Marks opened the discussion up to their local community, inviting a large variety of people to have their say and share in the vision, through two community consultation workshops lead by Page Park.
At the end of this process of generating an Options Appraisal, we have not settled on a final concept design which St. Mark’s will pursue, but we have explored several different approaches and discussed how these approaches could develop. St. Marks now have a clearer idea of their priorities and aspirations in relation to their buildings, and ideas of what could be achieved.