A pleated roof adds an ecclesiastical accent to a London chapel extension by Piercy & Company


Simone Bossi, Noel Read, Jack Hobhouse

Wrapping around a grade-II-listed chapel in west London, architect Piercy & Company’s extension with a “folded and pleated” roof provides the International Presbyterian Church Ealing with a significantly increased capacity and an expressive form.

Manipulating the geometry was intended to reference the pitched roofs of local streets and create soaring ceilings that allude to traditional church architecture. The pleats “create a finer grained roofscape”, reducing the apparent size of the building, says Stuart Piercy. “But they also have a symbolic role. As the roof rises towards the front of the site, they peak in an abstracted spire, signalling the building’s ecclesiastical function.”


The extension is constructed from steel framing and cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels whose “warmth and familiarity bring a more domestic scale to the soaring structure”, suggests the architect. Extensive physical modelling was used to simplify and refine the geometry, to allow the contractor to set out the structure more easily.


Developed over more than seven years but delivered to a tight budget, the scheme relies on “the creative use of commonplace components that has elevated the project above its relatively modest means”, says the architect. “Off-the-shelf materials and products are arranged in a bespoke way to create unique spaces”.

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Structural engineer
Heyne Tillet Steel
Services engineer
Lighting designer
18 Degrees Below