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.

This is premium content

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or Subscribe to view this story

Existing subscriber? LOGIN or

Subscribe for unlimited access to:

  • Up to the minute architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Our monthly digital edition including stunning photos, building and technical studies
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a print copy of WA100 when it is published in January

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts