Winton Chapel. Winchester

Name of scheme: Winton Chapel. Winchester
Nominating organisation: City of Winchester Trust
Shortlisted category: Historic Buildings 

Winton Chapel, Winchester is shortlisted for a Civic Voice Design Award for its demonstration of high quality design in the historic building category.

The City of Winchester Trust had always been disappointed that this special building was not more greatly valued for its architectural characteristics, particularly when it was downgraded a secular meeting room when a new chapel was built in the 60s. Originally built in 1880, and then extended in 1927, the Chapel is now used for a number of different events and purposes: services, group meetings, concerts and as a place of quiet contemplation.

It was therefore a great pleasure for the Trust to learn that the original chapel was to be refurbished and added to in order to once more make the building the ecclesiastical heart of Winchester University. A presentation of the proposed regeneration and ingenious addition was given to the City of Winchester Trust by the architects at an early stage, and the trust has watched and commented on the progress of the works with great interest. Much consultation was undertaken during the early stages of the project, where ideas and directions were shared and explored. Because the Winton Chapel performs a number of functions, aside from its principle role as a place of Anglican worship, it was considered important to consult as widely as possible, and to ensure that the University’s endeavour was reflective of its ecumenical character. The academic and student communities have, therefore, been part of the design evolution, and we expect the Winton Chapel to continue to evolve in supporting its many users with a link to the University’s past and foundation, as well as to its future.

The project was to renovate and extend the University’s Victorian Chapel.  In 2015 the University commissioned Design Engine Architects to oversee a complete restoration of its internal and external fabric. In addition, the University asked for an extension to the chapel, to include a small side chapel and a social and meeting space. The obvious location for the extension was to the north of the main Chapel but the site constraints limited its width to about 3m, with adjacent buildings only 5-6m away. The resulting design is an empathetic response to the gothic revival building where its connection, form and materiality seem both intuitive and exciting. The design consists of a pitched roof structure that mirrors that of the existing building and allows light to penetrate into the perimeter exterior spaces. The ridge over-sails the existing building eaves line creating a clerestory window that provides both light and ventilation at high level. The plan form creates a twist in the pitched roof bringing an intriguing geometric dynamic to the new addition.

The modernisation of the interior in conjunction with refurbishment of its original features is a joy, and the highly imaginative small extension achieves the extra spaces that help the building to fulfil its important role in the community.

The judges said: "The brief was to create a very special project, to sit as a small 'jewel' in the heart of the campus, and we believe the overall result has achieved this".