In 1998, the practice was commissioned to produce a masterplan for the area around Chelsea Old Church along the eastern side of Old Church Street near the river, in the heart of Old Chelsea. The client, a developer, expressed a clear desire to achieve good value through quality design, and to contribute new buildings that firmly fitted in with those existing in the locality to create a mixed residential development. The scheme included a design for a new church hall and a new vicarage and verger’s accommodation for Chelsea Old Church.
The existing church hall, built in the 1970s, was demolished and replaced with a new building, Petyt Hall. The position of the new hall, set back from the street behind the vicarage, is arranged so that a new cloister-like space is created between it and the church. The detailing of the hall, with its large Doric frieze, is designed to make it stand out from the residential buildings that surround it. The contrast in scale of the detailing gives the hall presence, despite being set back behind the vicarage.
The buildings are built in traditional materials with London stock brick, soft red brick with slate and clay tile roofs and are designed so that, together with the existing buildings, they form consistent public spaces that seamlessly restore the continuity of the cityscape. This is especially pertinent in view of the fact that the buildings around Chelsea Old Church form the nucleus of what was once the historic centre of Chelsea.
The Hall was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2002.