St Matthew’s Parish Church




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ARCHITECTURE: Building Re-use


Page\Park Architects


St Matthew's Parish Church / Archdiocese of Glasgow


St Matthew’s Parish Church in Bishopbriggs has undergone a transformational refurbishment, creating a new interior in the existing sanctuary, extending the side aisle, and providing new accessible facilities. The intention of the project was to restore the spirit of the original building, while embracing artistic contemporary interventions that are worthy of their setting. PagePark has worked closely with the parish and the Archdiocese of Glasgow over the last five years to bring the project to fruition.The Category C listed church was designed by the well-known Glasgow practice Gillespie Kidd and Coia and was constructed in 1947-8, in the austere days after the Second World War. The original building was of modest design and construction, and much was achieved voluntarily by members of the congregation with local priests taking an active part in bricklaying. The original design made use of salvaged roof timbers, resulting in an unusually narrow plan and longstanding operational problems for the church. Resolution of this issue was a key part of the project brief, and was achieved with the creation of a new side aisle. This extension had the benefit of increasing the amount of light into the sanctuary via a new lantern window, which has made the church more visible in the town and given it a greater civic presence.The utilitarian design of the existing building benefited our contemporary reworking, and we were able to create an extension that was confident and fresh, complementing the original building without requiring to shy away, or exist in deference. The existing fabric has undergone complete refurbishment, new lime pointing, protective leadwork to the existing concrete copes, replacement critall style windows, and the relocation and refurbishment of the original relief sculptures by renowned Glasgow artist, Benno Schotz. The sculptures are now more visible in the entrance vestibule, and protected from further erosion.PagePark also designed a series of new pre-cast altar furniture, including the altar itself, lectern, presider’s chair, and font. The parish agreed to commission a ceramic artist, James Rigler, to design and construct a new tabernacle and sanctuary light in collaboration with PagePark. The tabernacle is constructed from slipcast Jesmonite and gold leaf, with a polished brass inner lining. The form and external pattern capture the spirit of the original church building, with inlaid pattern used to reference the symbolism of holy communion.