Hooray! The St. Thomas Chapel has won the Supreme Award in the inaugural Interior Awards as well as winning the Culture and Civic category award.
Thanks to everyone at AGM and Interiors Magazine for a great awards program and a fantastic party!
The Culture & Civic section of this awards programme was vigourously contested; there was an embarrassment of riches and, in truth, the judges thought that each of the finalists could have gone on to win the main award. Ultimately, it was a once-in-a-lifetime ecclesiastical project that pulled through: a project with a long, interesting narrative that begins in the 19th century, involves forensic architecture, restoration and, to get a little bit New Testament on it, resurrection.
However, this project was not just a rebuilding of something that had gone before; there was finesse in recomposition, and careful material selection, including some bold choices – onyx marble, for instance, comprises the ‘lantern’ that frames the top of the chapel. The chapel is one part of this project; there are two ‘containers’ in St Matthews. Something old, which started life in the bowels of an ocean-riding missionary ship, is balanced by something quite new, an amenity building like no other. It is a kitchen which the forward-looking church can look to subsidise income that will help care for the wonderful heritage envelope. There are many admirable aspects to this project, including its human scale and clarity of thought. It’s a sophisticated work where the modern and functional sit respectfully alongside the revered and historic.