A temporary oratory designed by Roz Barr Architects is on public display in London


John MacLean

A cylindrical structure clad in corrugated metal, which was originally designed as a temporary oratory at St. Augustine’s Church in Hammersmith by Roz Barr Architects, is on public display outside London’s Building Centre until 19 December 2018.

“Our proposal was in reference to the temporary structure – fondly referred to as the ‘Tin Cathedral’ – that originally housed the first Augustinian congregation whilst the new St Augustine’s church was being built”, explains the architect. Once common throughout Britain, temporary places of worship such as these were assembled from sheets of corrugated tin and were dismantled once their permanent counterparts were completed. Having served their purpose, these lightweight structures were then flat packed for shipment and repurposed elsewhere.


The structure was in use for three months at St Augustine’s Church, whose recent renovation was completed by Roz Barr Architects. “The pavilion demonstrates our process in making in the context of the church refurbishment”, says the architect. The positive formwork used in the making of the new cast iron tabernacle and cast iron ring above the altar are repurposed as decorative elements within the installation. The galvanised steel ‘shroud’ to the external wall is in reference to the original ‘Tin Cathedral’, and the timber frame alludes to the large roof trusses in the church interior, which have been stripped back and lightened in the refurbishment. “Together, these fragments from the refurbishment come together to provide shelter from the outside world, offering a temporary oratory for contemplation”.


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