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German Evangelical Lutheran Church


Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge


Healthcare and Recreation


A side extension to the German Church House in Cambridge provided the required accommodation to enable continued use of the church facilities by the whole congregation.

The brief included the immediate need for an accessible entrance as well as inclusive WC and changing facilities for wheelchair users in the church community.

The challenge of the design lay in rationalising the levels within the building with no direct correlation between the existing internal floor levels and the external ground levels. The removal of the old redundant and damp basement entrance to the side of the building was essential to create space for the access lift.

The new fully accessible entrance lobby provides a generous foyer with space for wheelchair manoeuvrability and the high vaulted ceilings provide a well-lit principal public entrance. The brickwork of the old external wall was cleaned and has been left exposed within the entrance foyer, with a new brick arch delineating the junction between the old and new constructions and forming the access from the new foyer into the original part of the church.

A platform lift was incorporated for wheelchair access from the lower (entrance) to the upper ground floor levels, allowing wheelchair users and the less able-bodied to use the building in the same manner as the more able-bodied members of the congregation. The modern inclusive WC facilities are accessed directly off the entrance landing and include WC and changing facilities with hoist system to facilitate use of the space.

The cramped kitchen space of the existing church was removed and a new kitchen incorporated within the extension, forming a larger food preparation area to allow catering for functions with new serving hatch to the community room, taking into account the needs of the current community groups as well as providing a more attractive lettable space to supplement the church’s funding. The designs included improvements to lighting and reconfiguration of the existing office space for the day to day running of the Church.

The German Church House is a building of local interest in a conservation area and the extension was designed in sympathy with the Victorian classicism of the original building and in keeping with other extensions to adjacent buildings.

The project was programmed to enable the church to remain in use, both for regular services and for the community groups who meet and use the facilities the church provides.

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