In 2010, work began on site at the Grade II* listed St Jude’s Church, to transform the building into a theological education centre. The £5m package included conservation and re-ordering of the worship area, new roof covering, new landscape treatment, and excavation and conversation of the existing undercroft. The works renovated the main worship space to create a multipurpose space for worship and lectures for up to 400 people.
Interventions to the ground floor were designed to allow for flexible use of the space and modern materials were used to offset against the complex and vibrant historic brickwork.
The glazed screen between nave and café can be folded open, allowing the seating area to be extended to the west end, as well as using the north and south galleries for their original purpose, when large gatherings are required. The ground floor can be used for worship for an increasing congregation or as a flexible space for college use.
The basement development included full excavation of the crypt to be dug more than 2m, and part a mining exercise excavation which allowed for the inclusion of two additional lecture theatres and several meeting rooms. alongside separate facilities for the nursery school and Earls Court Project. The finishes define it as a modern and functional space.
Additionally, the recording studios in the Basement allow the College to record and broadcast live footage from all three Lecture Rooms simultaneously on the internet.
The basement corridors, Library and Café have thick acoustically absorbent ceiling panels, often in circular form, to continue a theme that commenced with the coronas and extended into lighting elsewhere. Each of the volumes was studied acoustically at an early stage, and elements adjusted in order to moderate reverberation times.
The white and gold paint, long since turned grey, has been removed throughout the building. The brickwork, along with the beautiful murals depicting the natural world, which feature in the roundels above the column capitals and in the arch reveals, are now a prominent feature of the interior, having been hidden for sixty years. Externally, new stone openings for windows and doors, and small ventilation louvres, have all been crafted to a high standard to fit naturally within the existing exterior.
Lighting to the main area was purpose-designed, with a series of coronas intended to allow uplights, downlights, theatrical lights, and even speakers to be able to be fitted at any time.
The restored church can now cater for Christian worship comprehensively, including popular, bustling Sunday services. The result has been applauded by the younger generation, for whom it is largely intended. Some five hundred students are involved in courses at St. Jude’s already.
St Mellitus College have produced a video, including footage of the Ground floor Cafe and Nave, the first floor Library, and a Basement Lecture room.