The Baptist Church has been in existence in Dungannon since 1884 and the Church had established itself in Railway Road. In 2002 the Church recognised that the existing building was not adequate for its needs and ministry for the years ahead. For a further four years, we carried out investigative reports on the existing structure and building fabric and looked at many different options from extensions to relocating on a new site. In 2006 it was agreed to formally appoint us to design a new Church on the existing site with the following parameters:
- Retain the existing Church Hall and link the new building to it.
- Provide a building which is welcoming and open to all.
- Be adaptable in its use by the more traditional worshipper and the more relaxed informalities of youth.
- Be mindful that the Church will be located directly on a roadside.
The resultant building fulfills these needs and provides a sharp, fresh image to the public. The tiny site has been utilised to the full but yet the building appears to nestle into it with ease. The exterior has low maintenance finishes, namely natural slate roofs, stone curving walls, smooth rendered walls painted white and aluminium framed glazing. The lift tower cleverly acts as a focal point on the front elevation reminiscent of a more traditional bell tower.
The building is like a tardis in the way that it provides so much internal accommodation. A glazed double height entrance foyer provides direct access to the Church, the Church Hall, the Pastors Room, toilet facilities, coffee bar and stairs up to first floor Sunday school rooms, Church balcony overflow and youth facilities. This foyer area performs the function of a meeting space, a space for before and after service fellowship, a space for having a coffee – a relaxed inviting space. The Church itself seats 160 people and it is a high mono-pitched space which has a curved Baptistery behind the pastor as its focal point at the front, and a first floor balcony capable of seating a further 60 people to the rear. The Baptistery, which is floored over when not in use, is symbolically bathed in light from tall windows to both sides and a glazed roof area over. All parts of the building are universally accessible. The new building is highly insulated and utilises under floor heating and energy efficient lighting. The Church also has a sophisticated integrated sound system with audio-visual power point display facilities and the capability of transmitting a Church Service to any room in the building.
Despite the difficulties encountered with high site retaining walls, poor ground conditions and a highly restrictive road side site, the project was built on time and within the £650K budget by a dedicated local contractor. The entire project was a great success and the new Church has been praised by public and Church members alike. This delightful little building has regenerated this part of the town and it has greatly raised the profile of the Baptist faith in Dungannon.