Finish the Tower

Finish the Tower was our first individual course project in 4th year where we had to create a design for the unfinished tower at Logie and St John’s Cross Parish Church in Dundee. We started off with an initial site visit where I took photos and sketches. I found I was very inspired by the beautiful stained glass windows and archways. The interior of the church was dark and cold and I considered how I could combat this. The minister wanted to promote community engagement and make the church more welcoming for everyone.

I brainstormed church tower meanings and different ideas I could do with the design before going on to create an emotive model. Much of my research into church towers took to me to the main themes that a church tower was like a beacon to the community as well as the purpose to be to direct your eyes towards the heavens; themes I carried into the rest of my project. I engaged with community groups and other church users to find out their views, some of the main ideas that came up were that people wanted a more welcoming space that could perhaps have a café or waiting area for people using the church facilities and also to encourage more people in. Having an open outlook to the east if also very significant in traditional Christianity as it faces Jerusalem and the star that symbolises Jesus’ birth. Using the circular shapes of the sun dial and scared geometry patterns I developed a spherical building evolved to the sun’s rhythm. A building which steps out from the dark and cold to provide a warm welcome to the local community.

For the final design I created a new extension to the front of the church which utilises the power of the sun. Not only does it allow more light into the building, but it also employs the use of photovoltaic solar tiles and glass panels to provide energy to the church and keep it heated even during the winter months. The building extension is designed like an inverted amphitheatre centred around a central disc viewing platform where your eye is directed above towards the heavens by way of a large tubular skylight. More information on the final design can be found on my website.

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