Restoration of England’s only elliptical church recognised at regional awards

by Francesca

Kapex Construction, part of The Morton Group, has been recognised in North East RICS Social Impact Awards for its work on England’s only elliptical church.

The RICS Social Impact Awards North East awards ceremony was held online on Friday 1st May, showcasing the very best regional built environment projects and their positive and transformational contribution to society.

The outstanding shortlist of pioneering initiatives were featured across nine different categories, including All Saints’ Presbyterian Church in Newcastle showcased in the heritage category.

The 18th century Grade I listed building had been unused as a place of worship for over 40 years. It was listed on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register until it was transformed by The Morton Group’s project delivery company Kapex Construction.

Working alongside the local congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales, Kapex Construction was appointed to bring this sonically impressive structure back to life with a full refurbishment in keeping with the site’s heritage. The work was funded by Historic England and Gateshead Presbyterian Church.

Following a 15-week comprehensive and sensitive restoration, All Saints’ Church has now re-opened its doors to worshippers and services for the first time in decades.

Originally designed by Presbyterian architect David Stephenson, the elliptical structure of All Saints’ Church is central to the ethos of Presbyterian services, which are based around singing.

After the church was deconsecrated, the Newcastle city centre building was used for events by the Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestra for a number of years before flooding damage left the building in a state of semi-disrepair by 2011.

Principal contractors Kapex Construction led on the external works, which included new leadwork, windows and stonework. It also liaised with the client on internal works, consisting of a full mechanical and electrical installation, kitchen refurbishment, office space, marble and parquet flooring, bespoke seating and installing a new sound system.

The innovative construction project was delivered Kapex Construction in close collaboration with Minister Bill Schweitzer of the All Saints Presbyterian Church, Historic England, Tyne and Wear Preservation Trust, in addition to the council and Kevin Doonan Architects.

Finished to a high standard, this historic building was brought back into modern use with the latest audio-visual facilities, thermal underfloor heating, energy efficient measures and disabled access.

The ‘All Saints Hard Hat Tour’ event showcased the church to the public during Newcastle Heritage open weekend in September 2019.

Gary Morton, CEO of The Morton Group, said: “This was an incredible heritage project for our delivery company to work on and we are absolutely delighted that it has been recognised in the North East RICS Social Impact Awards.

“These awards demonstrate world class projects like this and show how the built environment can have a direct positive social and environmental impact on our local communities.

“It’s fantastic to see this unique, historic building brought back to its former glory, but it is even more rewarding to see the community of the All Saints’ Presbyterian Church return to this amazing elliptical Grade I listed building as a place of worship.”

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