The UK's Best Modern Churches

The National Churches Trust, along with the 20th Century Society and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association held a competition last year (2013) to name the best modern churches in the UK. The criteria for modern was that they opened after 1 January 1953. The top honor went to St Paul, Bow Common—previously featured here and here and in this flickr set and again in this one, and the subject of my master's thesis. So needless to say it is a favorite.

St Paul, Bow Common

As part of the competition, the National Churches Trust released a video profile of the church that really helps describe the experience of the space. The potency of the space does not translate well in photographs alone due to its raw appearance, so the movement and light possible in video help. And you have a wonderful guide for the video tour: Prebendary Duncan Ross, who has been an incredible pastor for the neighborhood and steward of the building. I believe his efficacy comes in large part because he understands how those two are related, especially when you have a building of such personality as a partner.

The UK's Best Modern Churches: St Paul's Bow Common from National Churches Trust on Vimeo.

Here is the full top 10, which you can see illustrated on or the Architects Journal.

  1. St Paul’s Church, Bow Common, London by Robert Maguire & Keith Murray, 1960
  2. St Mary’s RC Church, Leyland, Lancashire by Jerzy Faczynski of Weightman and Bullen, 1964
  3. St Bride’s RC Church, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire by Gillespie Kidd and Coia (Isi Metzstein and Andy Macmillan), 1964
  4. Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2013
  5. St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Sheffield by George Pace, 1963
  6. St Francis Xavier RC Church, Falkirk by A R Conlin, 1961
  7. Scargill Chapel, Skipton, Yorkshire by George Pace, 1960
  8. St Paul the Apostle, Harringay, London by Inskip & Jenkins, 1991
  9. Kildrum Parish Church, Cumbernauld by Reiach & Hall, 1965
  10. St Paul’s Church, Harlow, Essex by Derrick Humphrys & Hurst, 1959 SS Mary and Joseph RC Church, Poplar, London by Adrian Gilbert Scott, 1954