14.8.2009

Salvation Army Citadel Corps in Chelmsford, UK

Hudson Architects' new building for the Salvation Army in Chelmsford is the first Citadel Corps building designed in a contemporary idiom using modern methods of construction. It breaks the mould of the traditional brick citadel, not only in its materiality but also in its plan.


Constructed entirely of timber and cloaked in an undulating zinc roof, the £2 million building provides 900 sqm new accommodation for the Chelmsford mission on the site of the premises it has occupied since 1974.

The new centre reflects the two sides of the mission, providing an assembly hall for worship as well as recreational facilities for the wide range of community outreach activities such as over 60’s clubs, youth activities and toddler care. The building’s plan recognises that these two aspects are interconnected whilst offering flexibility and separation to permit activities to function simultaneously. An indoor sports hall, outdoor play area, lounge, kitchen and foyer with reception café facilities are arranged around a 320-seater worship hall, with administration offices located on the first floor.

The building is constructed using a cross-laminated timber panel system pioneered by manufacturers KLH of Austria. This system offers all the advantages of reinforced concrete construction without the environmental cost. It also has a practical purpose, ensuring an efficient construction process, keeping costs down and making the building affordable.

The entrance elevation on Baddow Road has a domestic scale, which relates to the existing streetscape and connects the citadel to Chelmsford town centre. The elevation on Parkway is bolder and more dynamic, featuring a 13m tall x 3m wide contemporary steeple clad in a radiant light film. The two elevations are linked by a zinc butterfly roof which cloaks the entire building. The East elevation is clad in rockpanel board which has been CNC router pattern-cut with a bespoke graphic based on the concept of the growing tree of life and featuring scriptural excerpts that summarise the ethos of the Salvation Army.

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