St Martin of Tours Church

St Martin of Tours Church

Client : St Martin of Tours
Location : Edinburgh
Value : £335k over 3 phases
Completion Date : April 2018

St Martin of Tours Episcopal Church is a B listed Victorian church in the Gorgie/Dalry area of central Edinburgh. The church building like many from the 19th Century is struggling to provide the congregation and community with flexible, accessible and comfortable multi use space. Active links with the local and diverse urban community is a vital part of life at St Martins and the church has decided to make a number of strategic alterations to improve the facilities.

Following a feasibility study carried out by Lee Boyd it was decided that the more ambitious ideas within the study were simply too difficult to fund and a more modest proposal was agreed. This project was further split into two phases of work and the first phase was completed in June 2014. 

The essential components of this project are: 

1 – Providing barrier free access from the street: New point of entry on the side of the church

2 – Providing lift access to the lower floor: new lift at the front of the plan

3 – Providing stair access to the lower floor at the front of the plan: new stair accessed beside lift

4 – Improving the sense of transparency and welcome: reworking of threshold into sanctuary with office and kitchen

5 – Provision of more multi purpose community space: reworking of lower halls to provide spaces of different scales

The completed phase 1 project has breathed life back into the interior of the building, permitting a more direct relationship with the street. Passers-by can now see right through into the sanctuary, beyond the redeveloped foyer space, improving legibility and providing a much more inclusive welcome at the point of entry.

Beneath the retained balcony and accessed from the reconfigured foyer are now a kitchen space, church office and accessible toilet. Both the office and kitchen have direct links to the church hall.

The pews have been removed from the sanctuary and the old carpet tiles have been lifted to allow the original timber floor to be restored. With the benefit of connected facilities and a more flexible floor surface, the sanctuary which is still primarily for worship, can accommodate a wide range of church and community activities.

Design team :

Quantity Surveyor : Doig & Smith

Structural Engineer : David Narro Associates 

Services Engineer : RSP Consulting Engineers 

Main Contractor : Emtec

I would warmly commend Lee Boyd for the crucial role they have played in the transformation our building, and the creation of the St Martin’s Community Resource Centre. From our first meeting we sensed that they had grasped the vision and ethos that lay behind the project, and they have then sought to express and expand that architecturally. In our case, that particularly meant realising the importance of the threshold between the street and the building and they have found ways to enable the building to be more open to the community, and easy to navigate. Lee Boyd worked hard with us to incorporate the demands of both our many different users and our limited budget.

During the long process of design, fundraising, tender and build they communicated efficiently with us to ensure that we knew where we stood, and they project managed the building work itself in a way that gave us great confidence that the work would be completed to a high standard. We are delighted with our transformed building and have enjoyed the stunned reaction of people returning to the building and experiencing the transformation that has been wrought. It has sensitively brought the old and new together and given a tired Victorian church building a wonderful new lease of life.

John Conway, Rector, St Martin of Tours Episcopal Church