New Bowers Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM1
As built in the 1980s, this small and utilitarian design is of note less for its architecture and more as an ecumenical building project, the building being shared by Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and the United Reformed Church. In 2007 it was greatly enlarged with a striking free-form bronze-clad addition.
A Mass centre was opened in Springfield in 1961, served from Our Lady Immaculate, Chelmsford. A resident priest was appointed in October 1982 to serve the Catholic users of the present church. This was an ecumenical building project (the church being shared with the Anglicans, United Reformed Church and Methodists), serving Chelmer Village, an area of new housing. It was designed originally as a single large rectangular space which could be subdivided into one large and two smaller halls by moveable screens, with sacristies/vestries and other small ancillary rooms in projections at the northeast, northwest and southwest corners. It was opened and dedicated on 3 June 1983. St Augustine’s became a separate Catholic parish in 1985.
In 2007 the building was greatly enlarged on the eastern side by the addition of a new worship space with curving copper-clad outer walls. The architect was Karen Fardell of Plater Claiborne of Tollesbury, the builders F. J. French. This won a design award from the Chelmsford Society in 2008.
The original building has external walls faced in red brick, with a pitched roof over the centre of the main space flanked by monopitched roofs and with separate pitched roofs over the corner extensions. All these roofs are covered in concrete tiles. The main walls have rectangular windows at regular intervals. The main entrance is on the north side under a copper-covered canopy. The later worship space has a curving south wall faced with timber and render, with an asymmetric southeast window with stained glass. The east wall is undulating and copper-clad with a small round window at the apex of the vertical curve, which hides the copper-covered pitched roof over the new internal space. The new north wall is again timber-clad. The interior was not inspected; photographs above are taken from a BBC website.
Architect: John Finch and Associates of Chelmsford; Plater Claiborne Architecture and Design of Tollesbury
Original Date: 1983
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed