Rio Architects

Thoughtful restoration with a modern versatile space


Oxford Centre for Mission Studies




Architecture, Digital Construction, Visualisation, Sustainable Design

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) is an independent Christian mission research centre charity based in Oxford. In 2019, OCMS approached us to develop plans for the redevelopment of their current facility, the Church of St Philip and St James.

We worked closely with OCMS to help define their spatial requirements and develop the project brief. Throughout the project, we tested numerous options to accommodate their growing, diverse and sometimes conflicting functions.

The resulting scheme consists of three constituent parts: an extension to the north of the church, a new glazed pavilion to the south-east, and the sensitive refurbishment of the existing church building.

Designed to make the church more accessible – the proposals provide better links between departments and a better environment for collaborative work.

A drawing for the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies

The glazed pavilion conceived as a ‘floating room’ external to the church is a simple and elegant structure, distinct in style from the existing church while complementing its surroundings.

The pavilion serves as a versatile space for work and relaxation and a visual connection between OCMS and the public realm.

We paid careful attention to the restoration of the Grade I listed building in the heart of the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area. The team developed sensitive proposals to improve the building’s energy performance and integrate the latest information and communications technology.

The new extensions were developed with a particular focus on low-energy design, using passive design principles and high-performance materials.

The design provides OCMS with adaptable spaces capable of supporting multiple functions and the flexibility to respond to future requirements as the organisation evolves.

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