Harris Street, Darlington, Co. Durham DL1
A brick-built church of 1970 with an interesting plan and architectural geometry. It displays its architect’s moving away from the traditional longitudinal plan adopted in his buildings of the mid-1960s towards a more intimate plan geared towards the demands of the new liturgy.
Before the building of the present church, use was made of a pair of Nissen huts on a different site. The present church was designed by David Brown & Associates of Newcastle and opened in 1970.
The church is an interesting modern design, being of buff brick construction under both pitched copper-sheeted (for the main body) and flat-felted roofs (for the flanking spaces). The plan is basically trapezoidal with a projection on the short, approach side for a porch-cum-baptistery (an irregular hexagon in plan), and a bigger projection facing this for the sanctuary. North of the sanctuary is a round-apsed chapel, with a vertical glazed face on the west to admit light. Running along the long sides of the building are narrow ‘aisles’ which accommodate confessionals, a shrine, a storage area etc. A major motif is the use of large, tall clerestory windows with four five-light openings down the long sides: on the short side is a single five-light window. Lighting the sanctuary area are other tall, square-topped windows.
The light, tall interior is pleasantly spacious. It is faced with bare bricks, apart from the east walls of the chapel and sanctuary which have a slightly rough finish and are painted a light orange. In the sanctuary this forms a backdrop to a large textile hanging. The ceiling is flat over the western part and then rises up in a continuous slope to the east wall of the sanctuary. Four banks of bench seating focus on the sanctuary which has a series of steps and crazy-paved marble flooring.
Fittings and furnishings:
Architect: David Brown & Associates of Newcastle
Original Date: 1970
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed