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Our Lady of Mercy and St Thomas

Part 1 Project 2000
Kevin Logan
Manchester School of Architecture, UK
Kevin Logan's Statement

Our Lady of Mercy and St Thomas of Canterbury.

The church, by abandoning the area leaves the residents of Gorton in an unpleasant and unjust wasteland. Is it acting as a responsible institution or could it react to the our changing world?

What are the needs of a local community which seems to have no need for the church? Does the answer lie in a physical form of a building, or is it as I suspect more complicated? As architects, are we not being presumptuous in assuming that as so called educated individuals we have the answers to society’s problems? How can we claim the answers when the truth of the problem is none too apparent?

I concluded that the the most powerful architectural statement I could achieve with this structure was to do nothing. So therefore my proposal for the church is to strip it back to its original form leaving it devoid of function and returning it to the local community to do as they wish. Then in addition I envisaged a new build element taking its form from the incomplete portion of the church, and reconstructing its never-built volumes. This non-religious community centre provides services for local people yet is still related to the original monument.

Kevin Logan

Our Lady of Mercy and St Thomas of Canterbury, Gorton.

The project was to find a new use for an abandoned church in Gorton, a sink estate in East Manchester. Although Sir Walter Tapper’s Italianate building of 1926 is highly ordered the interior volumes interlock to give a space with mystery and depth. The drama is enhanced by an unusual gallery which bridges the nave. The building was never finished, what the missing front two bays might have looked like was the starting point of Kevin Logan’s study.

He removed the undistinguished modern additions to the church and proposed new community facilities as a secular replacement for the church which is preserved as a public space.

He took the form of his structure as the negative of the not existent front. His flying office wing makes a response to the nave bridge and frames an entrance to a space in front of the church which acts like the public atrium to a Romanesque church. The massing of his building rises and swings round like the spaces of increasing size in the church. In these ways he made imaginative use of historical precedents and showed a feeling for sculptural form, an ability to balance solid and void, and a grasp of construction which is rare in a third year student.

• Page Hits: 2833         • Entry Date: 09 February 2000         • Last Update: 10 May 2001