St Martin's Church, Brighton - ideas competition

28 amazing architect-led ideas, with two winners, each bringing commercial viability to the innovative reuse of this extraordinary church building...

We are delighted to announce the result for this intriguing competition to find new uses for St Martin’s Church, a beautiful Grade II* building in Brighton.

We received 28 thoughtful and extraordinarily diverse submissions for this competition.

Three teams were shortlisted to attend interviews and, following the final assessment, the Jury Panel decided to award a joint first prize to:

  • Arup
  • Emil Eve Architects Ltd

Trewin Design Architects was placed third.

ArtArchitecture and Tom Turner Architects were highly commended.

The Jury Panel felt it was impossible to select a single winner preferring to acknowledge and celebrate two very different yet complimentary schemes both with intriguing ideas but neither with all the ideas.

  • Joint Winner: Arup
  • Joint Winner: Arup
  • Joint Winner: Emil Eve Architects
  • Joint Winner: Emil Eve Architects
  • Third Place: Trewin Design Architects
  • Third Place: Trewin Design Architects
  • Highly Commended: ArtArchitects
  • Highly Commended: ArtArchitects
  • Highly Commended: Tom Turner Architects
  • Highly Commended: Tom Turner Architects

Exhibition

A public exhibition of the three finalists and the two highly commended submissions will be held in St Martin's Church:

19 January – 10.30 to 16.00
20 January – 12 noon to 16.00
02 February – 13.00 to 16.00
03 February – 12 noon to 16.00 

In addition, we have featured submissions from other competitors in this Journal piece.  
See images below.

“The Jury Panel were delighted with the number of entries for this competition and the quality of the submissions which is why we felt it very difficult to select one winner.  

"The range of ideas and possible uses were stunning. They ranged from leisure and the arts to business and community uses – the latter including vertical farming and sophisticated climbing walls.  In the end we felt the practical solutions submitted by Arup, if combined with the uplifting arts suggestions put forward by Emil Eve would ensure the life of a beautiful heritage building such as St Martin’s church for generations to come. 

"This was a new form of architectural competition, seeking the proof of the practical with good design, and we felt everyone rose to the challenge brilliantly.  On behalf of the panel I would like to thank everyone for making this such an exciting competition” 

— Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and Chair of the Jury Panel

Competition gallery

The gallery below shows submissions that were received but not placed in the competition.

  • ABHRA
  • ABHRA
  • Alison O'Reilly
  • Butler Hegarty Architects
  • Butler Hegarty Architects
  • Gluckman Smith
  • Gluckman Smith
  • Guilherme Cunha
  • Guilherme Cunha
  • Jane Jones Warner Architects
  • Jane Jones Warner Architects
  • JCPCDR Architecture Studio
  • JCPCDR Architecture Studio
  • Jestico Whiles
  • Jestico Whiles
  • Kilburn Nightingale Architects
  • L1 Architecture
  • L1 Architecture
  • Le Lay Architects
  • Le Lay Architects
  • Nico Design
  • Nico Design
  • Norton Ellis Architects Ltd
  • Norton Ellis Architects Ltd
  • Peter Dagger
  • Peter Dagger
  • Rayner Davies Architects
  • Rayner Davies Architects
  • RDJW Architects
  • RDJW Architects
  • SG Architecture Ltd
  • SG Architecture Ltd
  • Studio Mash
  • Studio Mash
  • Toko Andrews
  • Toko Andrews
  • Tutton And Young Ltd
  • Tutton And Young Ltd
  • We Like Today Architects
  • We Like Today Architects
  • Y/N Studio
  • Y/N Studio

The competition

St Martin’s church is an extraordinary building and it warrants a second lease of life. Given its location, its scale and its volume, it also has huge potential for redevelopment.

The client, The Diocese of Chichester, supported by A Better Brighton & Hove, asked teams to come up with creative solutions that would respect the integrity of this beautiful listed structure, whilst at the same time adding new life and economic sustainability.

Collaborations between Architects, Surveyors, Landscape Architects, Engineers, Developers, Entrepreneurs, Investors, and End-Users were encouraged.

Whilst this was not a live project, the competition was expected to bring forward solutions that could be implemented in the future.

For further information about the competition go to the competition webpage.