Preserving a sacred space
The project to reorder Holy Trinity Church in the historic town of Bradford on Avon has seen the revival of a number of features and artefacts. The initiative has been funded by the discovery of the Quentin Metsys’ Christ Blessing, a rare and previously lost 16th Century Flemish painting found in the church.
BuroHappold Engineering’s work on the Norman church refurbishment involved remodelling the Grade 1 listed building, which has seen a number of additions and alterations since it was constructed in the 11th century. An essential requirement was to effectively follow the processes required for refurbishing historic buildings, including local preservation societies and the Diocesan Advisory Committee.
Our team was tasked with overseeing and providing engineering solutions for all aspects of the renovation project. A key challenge was the undertaking of flood risk modelling and flood resilience for the church, which is located alongside the River Avon.
Inside the church, the team opened up the space and restored historical features. The rotting wooden floorboards were taken out, the void filled with blown glass insulation and insulated Bath stone flooring laid, incorporating under floor heating. We specified new lighting and electrical installations, replacing the existing out-dated systems.
As part of the new internal layout for the church, BuroHappold oversaw the removal of the Willis III organ, which will be refurbished before being replaced in a more prominent position in 2017. Structural work included the addition of a mezzanine floor in the church tower, which provides space for a meeting area, as well as a new extension, which houses an office and toilet facilities and a separate new boiler room.
With its location alongside the River Avon the church was prone to flooding. Using our experience of engineering flood defences for listed buildings, we carried out modelling of flood risks to the church in line with Environment Agency guidelines, using the results to inform solutions. Due to the nature of the site, we were required to manage the need for excavation, and worked closely with archaeologists to carefully research the ground conditions. This led to the important discovery of remains that pre-date the existing church.
Our work to carefully oversee the restoration of the listed church has seen the creation of a light and welcoming space for worship while preserving historical features. The successful coordination between the teams working on the project enabled the refurbishment to be carried out and coincidentally revealed important archaeological finds, while maintaining control over the project completion date and costs.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply