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St Olaves Church
Extension Concept Design

  • Location


  • Completion Date


mass architecture were invited as part of a mini-competition to submit designs for a series of new facilities for St Olave’s Church in York, including a choir rehearsal room, Sunday school area and cafe.


Cafe Space
The overall effect that we wanted to create with the cafe extension is one of a calm, quiet architecture. A ‘thick wall’ is the main structuring device that contains the platform lift, cafe counter and accessible WC. This element, referencing the thick ‘inhabited’ walls of St. Mary’s Chapel is then contrasted with a visually lightweight glass structure enclosing the cafe and church entrance lobby. We propose to use structural glass ‘fins’ to support the walls and glass roof, in order to retain as much transparency as possible. Note: solar shading to be explored further. We would also like to explore further the potential for introducing some subtle colours into the glass. The roof of the ‘thick wall’ and the central area of the cafe is softened in appearance by the use of a wild flower green roof.

Choir Rehearsal Room
This stand alone structure has a more complex appearance appropriate to it’s function and context. Its vertical emphasis and rhythm is derived from the tall buttresses on the nave of St. Olave’s and St. Mary’s Abbey ruin. The panels would be clad in limestone to match the church and brick to match No. 29. and the street beyond. Within the outer, solid layer of vertical panels sits a glass enclosure, bringing light in at a clerestory level. Above this is a ‘lantern’ and a further level of clerestory glazing.