A Floating Church Will Soon Set Sail on London’s Canals

A Floating Church Will Soon Set Sail on London’s Canals

From the inception of Christianity to the contemporary era, Christian architecture and design have seen remarkable transformations, marked by the construction of grand Byzantine churches, Romanesque abbey churches, Gothic cathedrals, and Renaissance basilicas. These magnificent, often ornate, and architecturally prestigious structures have long graced towns and countryside, becoming iconic symbols of faith. Over the course of two millennia, Christian architecture has honed its various facets to perfection.

However, a new endeavor challenges this historical notion. The Church of England, in collaboration with the UK-based firm Denizen Works, is embarking on an innovative project that reimagines the concept of a place of worship. It's not just a physical space but a barge that can gracefully navigate London's canal network while redefining the aesthetic of a sacred place.

Named the "Floating Church," this vessel is scheduled for completion by December 2018. Its primary mission is to engage with the burgeoning communities in the London Mayor's key Opportunity Areas. The Church of England's Diocese of London is spearheading this project to bring the gospel to locations where traditional houses of worship have yet to be established.

Architect Andrew Ingram from Denizen Works shared:

"We have designed a boat which we think will become a landmark on the London canal and provide its users with a unique and inspiring space."

The interior of the Floating Church is adaptable, catering to various activities such as parent-child groups, yoga classes, art exhibitions, concerts, book clubs, and supper gatherings. To accommodate the vessel's passage beneath London's bridges, a compact and flatboat design was necessary. However, these features are exclusively for navigating the waterways.

The design of the Floating Church, resembling the bellows of a church organ, can be transformed into an expansive accordion-shaped space when anchored, thanks to a sizable pop-out canopy. This canopy offers ample internal space for worship and a wide array of cultural events.

Currently, the Floating Church is in the process of raising funds for its construction, with work expected to commence in March 2018. This innovative project aims to connect with communities in East, Sweetwater, and Eastwick within the Olympic Park development zone, and it will also be available for rental for art exhibitions, interfaith gatherings, and various events.

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