Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church is a Grade II* listed medieval church situated in the centre of Cambridge. Peter Dann were appointed as part of the team to deliver a challenging and ambitious project to refurbish and extend the church in what is a tight city centre location. The objective for the refurbishment was to provide a more welcoming and flexible environment.

Part of this objective was achieved by the construction of a four-storey extension which challenged the design and construction team, given the extremely limited space within which the extension was built.

The extension was constructed above the passage which exists between the church and adjacent retail building which provides access to Marks and Spencer beyond. It was necessary to maintain access to the retail premises throughout the works and this called for both creative temporary and permanent works to deliver the impressive structure. The upper three storeys of the steel-framed superstructure cantilever over the passageway maintaining the required thoroughfare and ensured the retention of the historic archway at the western boundary.

A piled foundation approach was adopted to facilitate cantilevering the structure through the use of tension piles. This approach also avoided undermining the sensitive foundations of the church, and surcharging of basement walls of the surrounding retail properties. The groundworks proved to be significantly more difficult to construct than originally anticipated, with a number of previously hidden brick vaults being discovered during excavation works.

The extension provides space for offices and meeting rooms, a new vertical circulation route and lift for disabled access, an increase in welfare facilities, and children’s activity spaces. The external finishes complement the local architecture beautifully and utilise buff brickwork, Portland limestone and copper and oak cladding to complement the existing church finishes.

The main body of the church underwent refurbishment with the installation of an underfloor heating system and a lighting and AV system. New seating was added throughout, the South Transept was given a modern kitchen, and disabled access to the reconfigured south gallery was incorporated to complete this thoughtfully designed refurbishment project.