The hall needed to facilitate various uses but without having to be continually adapted each time.
As is often the case with historical buildings, the new additions needed to be noticeably different from the original stone-built church. The use of oak lends itself to an aesthetic of traditional materials but used in a contemporary design, with a touch of continuity coming from the slate roof from the church being mirrored in the link and main hall.
The oak frame for the project would span over nine metres, so king post trusses were chosen as the frame design route, with mechanical bolts and double purlins, as well as central posts at each gable to help support the structure.
One of the main challenges came from the overhanging gable end that would feature the external green oak crucifix. This was achieved with cross steel pins and captured cantilevers with dummy purlins continuing the plane of the internal structure.
Access was also a challenge, with even the approach to the village needing careful planning, as well as crane and lorry access to the steep site – all meticulously thought out between main contractor AD Williams and the Carpenter Oak project manager.
An official blessing by the Bishop of Plymouth and the laying of the foundation stone took place in March 2017 and since completion, the project has seen a vastly improved opportunity for various local bodies, clubs and individuals.
‘Rowe Hall will be a great asset to All Saints and the Sparkwell community as a place of meeting, of learning and a place of hospitality for young and old alike.’
The new church hall won a Devon Historic Buildings Trust 2019 Conservation Award for a new build structure in a historic setting.
Photography: Richard Downer