Sheerness Dockyard Church – ADC
Hugh Broughton Architects has skilfully transformed a historic dockyard church on the Isle of Sheppey into a community hub and business incubator for young entrepreneurs.
Sensitively reworked by Hugh Broughton Architects, in collaboration with conservation specialists Martin Ashley Architects, Sheerness Dockyard Church now includes an exhibition area, café, events space and a business incubator hub for young entrepreneurs. Gutted by fire in 2001, the Grade II* listed 19th century building occupies a pivotal position at the entrance to the former Royal Dockyard on the Isle of Sheppey.
The renovation was supported by a Heritage Enterprise grant and includes extensive repairs to the brick and stone exterior, as well as the complete reconstruction of the clocktower. A new roof, supported by steel trusses and timber flitch beams, matches the original profile. Rendered parapets from architect George Ledwell Taylor’s original design have been reintroduced, while new windows, doors and decorative iron railings complete the faithful restoration of the church’s exterior.
Inside, there are further examples of original features that have been conserved or reproduced, including a fully rebuilt cantilever stone stair and refurbished fluted cast iron columns. Other parts of the building fabric, including a broken stone stair and fragments of decorative plaster, have been stabilised and retained as vestiges of the building’s history.
Contemporary interventions include a polished concrete floor that incorporates underfloor heating and a central aisle of re-laid original stone tiles. Glazed partitions and doors form separate spaces for meetings, while retaining the interior’s voluminous, light-filled aesthetic. The upper floors accommodate open-plan workspaces that follow the footprint of the original tiered seating galleries and are connected by lightweight steel bridges.
Slatted timber ceilings conceal acoustic insulation, while four, large circular skylights fill the space with daylight. The flitched timber trusses support track-mounted light fittings and high-performance fire detection systems.
HBA principal Hugh Broughton said, “It has been a pleasure to work with the Dockyard Trust on the reinvention of George Ledwell Taylor’s remarkable Dockyard Church, revealing its architectural splendours and elegant proportions once more for people to enjoy. The reinvigorated building will provide a focus for young entrepreneurs in Sheerness and a place for the local community to learn about the history of the dockyard. The existing fabric has been meticulously conserved and new elements added in a sympathetic manner to bring new life back into this important structure.”
Source: Architecture Today