Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene’s Paddington
A project with Simon Leach Design
For Paddington Development Trust
HLF funded, £3.6m
Grade I Listed
Architecture by Dow Jones Architects
Illustrated art tiles project was led by Linda Florence
AJ Architecture Awards 2019, Highly Commended
National Churches Trust King of Prussia Award 2018
St Mary Magdalene is a Grade-I Listed Anglo-Catholic church by the Grand Union Canal in north Paddington, London. It was built between 1867 and 1872 in the Victorian Gothic Revival style to designs by G.E. Street (Royal Courts of Justice). We were appointed in 2014 to plan, design and oversee interpretation design, wayfinding and a new visual identity. The 5-year, £3.6m capital works project cleaned and restored the church interior, reactivated the undercroft and created a new building containing a cafe, education space and better access – both physical and cultural.
The interpretation explored stories of community, migration, local history, technical artistry, faith and the role of the church. Our approach was underpinned by community participation, facilitating co-design and co-curation projects with local community and education partners. Design outcomes were integrated into the building, including stair nosings with dates cast into the treads, illustrated art tiles set into cast concrete walls, printed guides and oral history recordings. The wayfinding design is composed of individual handmade glazed ceramic letter tiles fixed to shallow metal shelves coated in a dark grey micaceous iron oxide paint. The materiality, colours and bespoke typography are a response to the highly decorative Victorian interior of the church balanced against the cast concrete, metal and douglas fir of the new architecture.