New Cuddesdon chapel up for award


02-BishopEdwardKingChapelThe Edward King Chapel at Ripon College Cuddesdon, is one of the six buildings shortlisted for this year’s most important architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize.  RIBA says “the judges look for original, imaginative and well executed designs which excellently meet the needs of their users”.

The College’s brief for a new chapel on its historic site in Oxfordshire, asked for it to be “foremost a place for the cultivation of personal prayer as well as of public worship. What is needed is not just a building but a work of art that will touch the spirit.”

Architect Niall McLaughlin won the commission through his deep understanding and interpretation of the brief.  Niall says “We have two important architectural ideas. The first is a gentle hollow in the ground as a meeting place for the community. The second is a delicate ship-like timber structure that rises into the treetops to gather the light from the leaves.

“The first idea speaks of ground, of meeting in the still centre. The second idea suggests an uplifting buoyancy, rising towards the light. The way in which these two opposite forces work off each other is what gives the building its particular character.”

Ripon College Cuddesdon has around 150 students training for ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and a growing number preparing for Reader, Pioneer and a variety of lay ministries.  It is the largest provider of ordination training in the UK, and has trained a third of current Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons in the Church of England.

The College Principal, Revd Canon Prof. Martyn Percy added: “The Chapel is the heart of any worshipping community. This vision for a new place of worship – with its use of light, space, glass, wood and stone – really captures our hope for the church and the world, and for the shaping of religious and spiritual life.  We are absolutely delighted that it has been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.”

The winner will be announced on 26 September.


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