Project Description

St Andrews Undershaft, Saint Mary Axe


Project: Alteration of Historic Building
Client: The PCC of St Helens, Bishopsgate
Value: £1M

The PCC of St Helen’s Bishopgate employed Forcia to undertake the rejuvenation of St Andrew Undershaft, which is located in the shadow of 30, St Mary Axe, The Gherkin.

The Church, itself was constructed in 1532 and its a Grade I listed building. Much of the original features had been maintained including the internal oak doors. The Client wished to improve upon the church hall and make it a more comfortable and vibrant space for use by its congregation, whilst retaining the historical features and uniqueness of this building. The Architect (Sheppard Architects LLP) had created a sympathetic scheme that could meet these requirements. This included the erection of a new mezzanine floor and the creation of meeting rooms and WC Facilities. Forcia also undertook the installation of a new mechanical and electrical services to the church, with a focus on specialist lighting and Audio Visual installations.

At all times, Forcia were working to ensure that the historical features were protected. This became especially critical when a series of biblical friezes were discovered at high level between the arches. These artworks were discovered to be the last remaining examples by the artist and of their kind left within London.

The main body of the work was the erection of the new mezzanine floor to the west end of the main hall. This consisted of a steel frame and bespoke frameless curved glass balustrade. This new area provided much needed space and also allows for views across the whole length of the church. The glass balustrade was undertaken as a CDP element.

As part of the new finishes, we were asked to supply and install bamboo flooring to the main hall and underfloor heating. In order to maintain the historic stone chancel steps and doors, a series of adjustments were required. The doors were removed from site and reconfigured to suit the new floor level. This effectively involved carefully dismantling the panelled doors and re-assembling them using traditional craftsmen techniques. The doors were then cleaned and stained to restore their original appearance.