Floating church pops its top in a London canal
Denizen Works recently completed an unorthodox but very well executed floating church in London, England. The project brings to mind an old pop-top VW bus and is defined by a novel roof that can be lowered or raised depending on requirements.
Named Genesis after the first book of the Bible, the floating place of worship is based on a new wide-beam canal boat designed by naval architect Tucker Designs and built by Turks Shipyard. It's currently moored at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where it will remain for up to five years, before traveling along the canal to other communities. Crucial to this plan is the eye-catching roof, which is actually inspired by organ bellows and will provide the freedom to move along the canal to another location and pass beneath any bridges.
"Denizen Works' innovative design features a kinetic roof inspired by organ bellows," explains the firm. "It has been crafted from concertinaed, translucent sailcloth, and is lined with LED lights and powered by hydraulic rams. When fully raised, the roof will transform the barge from compact and low-lying, allowing it to pass beneath bridges, expanding into an illuminated beacon designed to capture attention and attract footfall to the mission. Operated by the touch of a button, in its raised position it increases the head height of the barge to 3.6 m [11.8 ft] at its highest point, creating a dramatic interior which is accessible to all."
The project has a total length of 8.5 m (27 ft) and its interior has a floorspace of 60 sq m (645 sq ft). Access is gained from midship and nearby lies the main assembly space, which has a capacity of up to 60 people. An office, kitchen, and toilet are situated towards the rear.
The interior decor is clean and simple, with light plywood walls and green linoleum floor. Bulkhead lighting adds a marine-style feel and built-in benches run along the wall. Collapsible tables are installed for hosting events and an altar designed by Denizen Works features an angled front like the prow of a ship and can be folded down and stored if not in use.
Genesis will initially serve the two existing parishes of St Paul Old Ford and St Mary of Eton in the Stepney Episcopal Area, though will also be available for private hire and for use by schools. It was built to a budget of £650,000 (roughly US$850,000).
Source: Denizen Works