Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mutable Program

In 1853 one London clergyman argued that the City of London had too many Churches, and that 29 churches should be demolished. Seven years later, in 1860, the Union of Benefices Act was passed, allowing the reorganisation of benefices or church livings and parishes - resulting in the reduced number of ten churches being demolished in order to make way for the City’s growing trade infrastructure.

Some 150 years later, in 1992, the Templeman report again concluded that the organisation of religious life in the Capital should be drastically reconsidered. All Churches have reported reduced congregations consistently over the past three decades. As result, many have resorted to a combination of private enterprise, or special cases of ‘religious specialisation’, whereby a specific denomination or demographic is catered to. As result, the number of churches in the City of London is to be reduced to only twelve, leaving twenty seven redundant.

Before the dissolution of the monastery in 1543 under the protestant reformation, which saw the destruction of more than half of its built structure, the church of Great St Barts acted as a centre for multiple programmatic functions: A school, livestock market, blacksmiths, private residence, hospital and jousting hall were all held within the church itself, while still functioning as a holy building.

Being one such church that will be decommissioned as a result of the Templeman report, Great St Barts will become the centre of a medical wing with hybrid programmes: Allowing for rehabilitation of IAD patients within an environment of variable community program.