In designing this church in Bourtreehill, the architects looked back to historical churches in order to find details and concepts which would evoke a certain “churchiness” without using the obvious hallmarks of steeples, etc. The splayed plinth around the outside of the building, the fluted block piers inside the Sanctuary, and the main timber roof construction are all examples of how traditional idioms have been translated into recognisable elements in the design. Through this the architects hoped that the existing community would associate these details with their memory and experience of the traditional churches with which they grew up, and also that new generations would be able to establish a link with their historical past.
From the paved area between the Church of Scotland and Saint John Ogilvie’s, one enters the Narthex, which gives access to all three areas of the Parish Centre -the Church, the Hall and the Parish House. With its exposed roof construction and volume the Narthex prefaces the experience within the church which is delayed by first moving parallel to the church, dropping down four steps, turning at right angles and finally through a glazed screen and into the main body of the church itself. Here the same effect is used, with the centre aisle set off on a diagonal axis from the “Cry Chapel” down to the sanctuary. The sanctuary is expressed by bursting through the octagonal geometry of the church to create roof lighting and an opportunity to include stained glass windows behind the screen created by the structural piers.
The stained glass windows, installed in 1991, were designed by Susan Bradbury, and admirably complement the interior design of the building while reflecting traditional Christian ideas – those of Pentecost and Calvary.
A further window, the Marion window was installed in 2000 – dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus – and placed above the entrance to the sacristy on the right of the sanctuary. The sloping ground of the original site has been cleverly used to allow the “stepping-down” of the church floor. This gives both an architectural feeling of intimacy and space, and allows for more convenient viewing of the sanctuary.
On the left of the church lies the Parish Centre or Hall – this can be seen as being a “diminuendo” of the church with a much simplified architectural plan, roof form and related construction. The three main elements of church, hall and parish house link together using the low pitched roof to encircle the high peak of the main church roof.