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Linden Church Vision Workshop

At Orkidstudio we’re in the first stages of working with Linden Church in Swansea to redevelop their existing church building. Linden have been great friends and supporters of our work over the years, as they are closely involved with the Mutende project which we built for in Zambia, 2013. Knowing our work and community focus, the church asked us to explore an alternative approach to the design and construction of their meeting space, which could inspire and empower the community around them.

As well as their main meeting space, the church also owns a shop space on the seafront in Swansea , where they run a huge number of projects for the local community. With a youth Cafe, meeting rooms, food bank, recording studio and more, the shop is used throughout the week for the church members invest in their local community. The church’s outward community focus matches up with some our key values, and while we have extensive experience working in developing nations we’re excited to explore how our ideas can be translated back home too.

We spent a weekend in Swansea getting to know the church and running a vision day with the congregation. Instead of delving straight into design ideas, most of the day was taken up with discussing together what the vision of Linden was, asking broad questions like ‘how do you want the church to be known in the community’, and ‘what memories and parts of the existing building are most significant to you’. Asking these questions let us discover together the history, direction and overall motivation felt by the congregation, which gave us a foundation to begin looking at what spaces might be important in the new development.

It was a valuable time, for us as designers to understand the context and hear the needs of the church, and for the church community too, to openly discuss their vision. More than anything else it revealed a great shared drive within the church, to be a warm, welcoming, outward looking family, motivated and unified by their christian faith.

Over the coming weeks we will be collating all the notes, sketches and drawings which were produced at the vision day, so that we can begin to distill them into a brief and plan for the new development. We’re looking forward to getting to know the church further as the project progresses, and working with them to realise their vision for a new Linden.