Woodside Green Christian Centre, Croydon, Surrey

Woodside Green Christian Centre, Croydon, Surrey

Client: Woodside Green Christian Centre
Architect: Martin Hewitt / Turner and Hoskins Architects
Contractor: Bracknell Roofing
Type of works: supply of SSQ Ultra Riverstone® Grey roofing slate.

The roofs on the new £1.7million, Woodside Green Christian Centre in Croydon provide an outstanding example of how imagination can use the versatility of natural roofing slate to create a roof that truly stands out from the crowd.

Architect Martin Hewitt’s 1993 design lay unrealised until late 2006 when, with planning consent due to expire the following July, funding was finally secured – the race was on. As Martin was about to retire, Turner & Hoskins Architects took over the final design stages of the project; researching products, finalising specifications, creating the detailed design and preparing the working drawings.

“With a complex design and a very tight timescale, we had to rely on suppliers and products we knew would live up to expectations,” said Tim Hoskins. “The planning drawings specified slate so we contacted SSQ and asked them to provide a detailed specification, suggest three potential slates and recommend contractors who they were confident could do the work. From this we chose Riverstone roofing slate and Bracknell Roofing won the contract to supply and lay them.”

A 200-seat church lies at the heart of the centre and is surrounded on three sides by meeting rooms, offices, operational areas and six apartments in a small, three-storey block. Above these sit a slate-scape that includes a multi-valley, shallow-pitch (22.5°) roof on the apartment block; an octagonal shallow-pitch (22.5°) roof on the main entrance foyer and four single-surface, pitched roofs that link the key elements of the building together.

But the roof that really stands out is that on the church. Its conical roof has a diameter of 19m (62.3 feet), a pitch of 25° and covers an arc of 270°; the final segment of the circle thrusts out of the cone, soaring upward to form the church’s tower, the glazing in its cut faces allowing light to flood into the church’s interior. Behind this, the tower’s roof takes the shape of an inverted kite with a central ridge forming a spine that runs from the tip of the tower down to the rear of the church.

“It was the first time the Crowborough branch had tackled such an elaborate roof and it seemed to take forever to finish.” said Chris Beech, Manager of Bracknell Roofing’s Crowborough branch. “Because it’s design means you can only lay one row at a time, we could only have two men working on it: one cutting and one laying. And it used about 12,000 of the total 20,000 slates used on the project – and every one of them had to be cut! Was it worth it? Oh yes! We’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved.”

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