Technical Study: Floating church, London

Denizen Works' floating church - St Columba - for London's Olympic Park - daytime perspective

Denizen Works explains how VW Campervans and an organ bellows inspired a highly unusual place of worship

At the end of Peter Carey’s 1988 Booker Prize-winning novel Oscar & Lucinda, a glass church floats off into the sunset. Ever since he read those closing pages Murray Kerr has dreamt of bringing the picture to life. When a brief arrived for a floating church with a cover image of a vessel at sea he thought, “This is my chance.”

He opened the document, discovered the requirement was actually for a narrowboat that could fit through tight, curved canal tunnels and had to revise his ideas. But by then he was hooked.

The challenge then became how to design a boat that would be roomy enough to accommodate both a congregation and community activities – and that would stand out from all the others moored around it on east London’s canal network.

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