Award for achitects which helped Radford Semele church rise from the ashes

St Nicholas church Radford Semele. Picture by Tim Crocker.
St Nicholas church Radford Semele. Picture by Tim Crocker.

Architects who helped St Nicholas church in Radford Semele rise from the ashes after an arson attack have been awarded for their work.

Herefordshire-based Caroe & Partners were announced as a winner of the 2015 Presidents ’ Award for new church architecture by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association at a ceremony in Westminster last Thursday.

St Nicholas church, which dates back to the 12th centiry, was targeted in an arson attack in March 2008 which destroyed the building, leaving only a smouldering shell of charred rubble.

It took a great community effort and four years of fundraising before a rebuild could begin.

Villagers rallied round to organise community festivals and ‘safari supper’ events, write recipe books to sell and make numerous other fundraising efforts.

The primary aim was to reinstate the building as a place of worship, but also to make alterations and improvements so that it might better serve the present and future needs of the community.

The judges said: “A rebuild and reorder after a fire.

“What was salvageable has been incorporated into the new building giving the design team a problem of how to span the roof over the remains of the North arcade. “This has been inventively realised with a clever roof which gives its axis at right angles to the main East focus. The new work speaks for itself in an unassertive way; it is in sympathy with existing materials and scale and is well detailed. “

The award was presented to The Rev Martin Green.

The project was completed by Croft Building & Conservation in 2013 and the church has has since gained a new lease of life as a focus for worship and community activities.