An existing colonial conservation building dating back to the late 1800s, the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church has seen its premises grow to include various new extensions over the years. With an ever-growing congregation and greater community outreach programs, the need for a major expansion of space soon became imminent.
The challenge of the project lay in addressing the need to create more useable space on an already-filled compact site. The conservation status of the existing chapel was also to be observed meaning that we had to work around the building. Reaching a height of 5 storeys at the finial of the cupola, the chapel was always in danger of being overwhelmed by its new adjacent extensions.
The proposal for the expansion puts forth an elegant solution where through the act of enshrining of the existing chapel, the chapel is encased like a shining jewel – with just the cupola breaking through to the landscaped roof terrace. The covered surrounding area created by the open-sided enshrining glass envelope is where the new extension spaces needed are planned.
The glass façade is held up by a series of elegant steel flutes taking the shape of a graphitized cruciform. The v-shaped columns create an upward and lofty feeling of ascension. In the interiors, they form an arching ceiling over the lobby areas. Exteriorly, the rising steel arches accentuate the lightness of the glass, contrasting sharply with the heaviness of the masonry.