‘God chose… things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.’
I Cor 1.28-29
Histon Baptist Church, Cambridge
Where previously the entrance was hidden and the circulation contorted, a new glazed foyer was created between the original church and hall to provide an obvious and legible front door. In one sense this new foyer is wasted of space. Yet its bright, warm and airy feel creates a perfect welcoming transition space to draw you across the threshold. It generates a much better flow of space by unifying the various parts, so that the building unfolds in a more relaxed manner. It provides a sense of quality that sets an expectation for the rest of the building. And it orients the visitor – it is clear where to go next, and large glazed doors ensure the sacred space of the church provides an obvious spiritual anchor the the overall building. This ‘nothing space’ has become a hub that allows the other elements to live together in creative tension.
St Andrew’s Centre, Histon, Cambridge
Similar issues are at play in the proposals for another building in the same village. Formerly the Victorian village school, for many years the church has used the buildings to provide good quality childcare. Where the buildings originally faced away from the road, the vision is now to create a more open and welcoming face to the building, as part of a substantial refurbishment project. The proposed building places a cafe next to the entrance, and both entrance and cafe frontage aim to provide maximum transparency, in the same way that retail design aims to remove barriers to entry, providing a ‘low threshold’.