New Home to the International Presbyterian Church Ealing

When the International Presbyterian Church (IPC) outgrew its existing premises in Ealing, West London, the site was extended to accommodate its increasing needs. The new extension at the site, Drayton Green Church, offers a space for worship, as well as offices for the administrative work of the IPC. The scheme allows for congregation growth of up to 200, which is the anticipated future usage of the church.

The meticulous detailing of the architecture and the palette of materials all needed a lighting scheme which would enhance them. The project’s architects, Piercy & Co, appointed leading London lighting designers 18 Degrees to design the lighting to the key public spaces, illuminating each one to suit the various functions of the space. 

As well as providing a space for worship, the newly extended church features flexible community meeting rooms and a function area. An existing Grade II listed Edwardian chapel has been retained and enveloped within the new scheme, beautifully merging old with the new. Embracing the spiritual purpose of the building, the extended space features soaring ceilings and vaulted spaces, which honour the traditional church architecture.

18 Degrees approached the project holistically, responding to both the unique form of the building as well as the liturgical nature of the space. “As a place for community and central gathering, we recognised the importance of working in harmony with the architecture to create a welcome space both in the day and after dark”, said Christopher Knowlton, Director and Designer at 18 Degrees.

Upon entering the building, the entrance reduces in scale through a pleated roof form, guiding visitors to the main worship space. Within the whole building, lighting is delicately integrated into the architectural fabric, featuring only where required so the light fulfils both form and function. 

The main worship space comprises a complex folded roof structure which sits over a large open area without additional structural columns. Daylight is abundant in the space through a number of window apertures, so the artificial lighting system augments this daylight in the drab days of winter and into the evening. 

The scheme designed by 18 Degrees uses soft up lights around the perimeter of the space which accentuates the triangulated geometry of the ceiling and bounces soft, diffused lighting back into the space. 

The soft glowing uplight is supplemented by downlighting, integrated into the ceiling structure.  This can be set to just illuminate the leader of worship or musicians, or the levels can be increased to light the space when it is used for activities such as crafts or community events. For those sessions aimed at older people who may require a higher level of light, this adjustment to the lighting levels makes a significant difference. 

All of the lighting is controlled via small zones, so that the building users can create a range of lighting emotions through the use of subtle and soft light. The controls are operated from a wall panel at the back of the space so it is easily accessed and engaged with by the users of the church.

Christopher Knowlton, Director and Designer at 18 Degrees concluded “we’re very proud of our work at the International Presbyterian Church. It’s an amazing space that needed a carefully planned lighting scheme to ensure it can be used to its full potential. 

“Our design has ensured the building’s scope of use has been increased, while also revealing and showcasing the material palette in a flattering and sympathetic manner.

“We’re confident worshippers at Drayton Green will be delighted with their new space, and 18 Degrees is honoured to have played a pivotal role in this.”


Key Facts:

Client: The International Presbyterian Church

Sector: Places of Worship

Location: London

GFA: 11,900 sqft

Collaborators: Piercy & Co

Status: Complete 2018