Castle Vale - St Gerard

Yatesbury Avenue, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35

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A church of the 1980s, with a striking fortress-like exterior and a more recent freestanding glass campanile, something of a local landmark in an area of public housing on the site of a wartime airfield.

Castle Vale is an estate of public housing built from the mid-1960s onwards on land close to the M6 motorway, which had previously been a wartime airfield. All the streets of the new estate were named after other British airfields. The parish was erected in 1967, a social centre was built in 1972-3 and a new church and presbytery next to the centre followed in 1980-81, built from designs by Cyril Horsley of Horsley, Currall & Associates of Stafford. In 2000 a glass campanile was added, from designs by Daniel Hurd Associates, Birmingham.

The church is in a simple modern style and the windowless public elevations give the building a fortress-like appearance. The walls are of red brick laid in stretcher bond, the roof coverings are of brown tiles. The building is rectangular on plan with a monopitch roof sloping down to an apsidal sanctuary projection in the centre of the east wall, which has rounded corners. The fully glazed west elevation has a single-storey narthex and is flanked on one side by the single-storey social centre built in 1972 and on the other by the two-storey presbytery which is integral with the church.  Between them is a small private garden with a freestanding campanile with transparent toughened blue glass cladding (built in 2000).

The interior with its bare brick walls is lit only from the fully-glazed west end. A timber-clad monopitch ceiling slopes down from the west end to the altar.  The apsidal sanctuary is top-lit, providing a strong focus for worship.  The fittings, which include ceramic Stations of the Cross, are probably original.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Horsley, Currall & Associates; Daniel Hurd Associates

Original Date: 1980

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 2000

Listed Grade: Not listed