The Christchurch North Methodist Church replaces the original church demolished due to damage sustained in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes.
The minimalistic approach to the design both inside and out has provided a strong simple form that speaks of its worship space function, provides a contemplative space and has enabled the church to be constructed within the very limited budget.
The layout of the ground floor is organized around the central entry / foyer area, creating a transparent link to the backyard garden as well as a connection between the worship hall and the community block. It is designed as an open, inviting space that could be used as an entry, spill-out space and as a separate area for meetings and functions.
The entrance is distinguished from the rest of the building. Highly visible and strong in its expression, it invites the user into the transparent foyer that opens into to the backyard garden, allowing and encouraging its active use.
The worship hall has a rectangular plan with a centrally orientated layout and moveable seating allowing flexibility of use. To the south the worship hall is screened from Harewood Road by a wall of selected opening spaces. On other sides, the space is surrounded by 2m high windows positioned between regular columns. Limited height and depth of the openings prevents excessive sunlight in the interior.
The northern community block connects the foyer with the parking area through an open gallery corridor. Being generously proportioned and lit through continuous skylights this link becomes not only a comfortable circulation area but a significant element of the building, and could be used for exhibitions and as an interaction space for the community. The meeting and lounge rooms take full advantage of the western light and can be opened to the fenced outside area while the kitchen, sports hall and storage are orientated towards the east side.
The building has been created through the identification of basic forms established in the tradition of church architecture and of the place. Those forms are then revealed and their content is opened as an invitation and interaction with the outside environment. The high level window spire located on the corner of the worship hall expresses its predominant function of worship space, and acknowledges the spire of the old church that was a local landmark.Materials representing the ones used in the old church, such as wood utilised in the ceiling, remind us of important elements of the past. The design was created through careful identification of the requirements and traditions of the Parish which results in a worship space and communal centre that fits the needs of the Christchurch North Methodist Church and the wider community.
Richard Chalklen, Parish Council Convenor says “The Christchurch North Methodist Parish wanted to express elements of who we are and our Christian mission to the community in the design of our new facilities. Dalman Architecture responded to this challenge by designing a building that expresses the essence of being a church, open and transparent, inviting, practical and versatile. Our congregation is excited by this stunning design as it has exceeded our expectations in so many ways.”
Project team: • Project Director: Richard Dalman • Lead Architect: Szymon Gozdzikowski • Architectural Technician: Stephen Ducrot