Blackhall St. Columba's Church
The first phase of work at Blackhall St Columba’s Church in Edinburgh was to transform the impressive Romanesque Revival sanctuary into a more comfortable and flexible realm for church and community life.
The difficult decision was taken to remove the pews, but with a new oak floor, under floor heating and loose seating, the space is well suited to a wider range of activities. Supporting this are new systems of adaptable lighting – particularly the modern chandeliers in the nave – and audio visual installations focussing on an extended chancel area and an arresting glass projection screen hanging below the chancel arch.
New and modern oak furniture has been designed and carefully located around the perimeter of the sanctuary to provide storage for equipment, tables and chairs. One of these installations also hides a preparation area for serving refreshments in the space, negating the need to run between the existing kitchen elsewhere in the church complex.
A final part of the project was to replace the existing entrance doors increasing the transparency at the main thresholds and improving the visual connection between inside and out. The new doors in glass and aluminium are the first signal of the changes within.
During project development Lee Boyd, presented ideas to the congregation, the church session and held meetings with CARTA to agree the boundaries of change. In addition cost control was carefully managed throughout the project to the extent
that the final account was agreed within budget.
The transformation of the space has been sensitively conceived working closely with the church and beautifully executed by a local contractor, John Dennis. The changes realised make the sanctuary a much more adaptable, brighter and warmer place to enjoy a service one day and a community event the next.