Victorian church readapted as vibrant coworking space & future home

Wai Ming Ng
© Wai Ming Ng

With the rise of the freelance economy, more and more people are working for themselves -- either at home, from a backyard office shed, or from a collaborative coworking space, where there are more perks and opportunities to network. These new professional spaces are popping up not only in conventional places, but also in less conventional ones like restaurants, buses, and even churches, as this project by Surman Weston (previous) has done -- converting a Victorian-era Methodist church into a co-working space for the architects, an animator, two illustrators and a print designer.

Seen over at Dezeen, architects Tom Surman and Percy Weston transformed the old London church by removing old paint off the walls, and adding new furniture, a wall of adjustable-height shelving, vibrant stained glass walls and a floating staircase. They say:

The diamond motif used here echoes the geometry of the existing timber trusses, while the stained glass panes reference the building's past as a place of worship. The aesthetic of the project was derived from the existing timber trusses. Sandblasting to remove the many layers of paint applied over the last 130 years revealed the remarkable texture of the original timbers.
Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

The idea was to create a "canvas of textures," all painted white, which would contrast with the brilliant stained glass surfaces to produce an airy, open space with depth and visual interest.

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

Besides serving as a temporary coworking space, the design can also transform into a residence in the future. That's accomplished with the insertion of two mezzanines at either end of the space, which now function as a model-making studio and meeting space, but which can later become a bedroom and a study, say the architects:

The concept embraced the dual purpose required in the brief. Rather than designing a studio that could subsequently be transformed into a home, it combines the warmth of materiality that you might find in a home, with the size and flexibility that is required in a studio or office.

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

In addition to the central open space that acts as a multipurpose place for work, meetings and meals, a kitchen and bathroom have been added under one of these mezzanines, to facilitate its future conversion into a home.

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

We talk often about how adapting and reusing existing buildings is a better and more sustainable option than demolishing and building from scratch; not only is there less waste, but it also lends a certain unique appeal that only comes from rehabilitating the old into something into new and unexpected. For more, visit Surman Weston.

Victorian church readapted as vibrant coworking space & future home
This old church has been remade as a professional coworking space, with the possibility of converting into a home in the future.

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