Cornerstone is the restoration and transformation of a former Ebenezer Chapel in Cardiff into a multi-use hub in the heart of the city. The philosophy of the project was to create a new community facility, giving it back to the people of Cardiff whilst saving a prominent, Grade II listed building from decay.
Our experts worked alongside Petersen Williams chartered Architects and John Weaver Contractors to provide quantity surveying, mechanical & electrical, and civil & structural engineering plus health & safety services to deliver this successful conservation project.
Right from the outset of the project, ensuring that the building stayed in keeping with the original design was of upmost importance. Original materials such as timber from the church pews was taken to the main contractor’s own joiner’s shop and reused in boarding for vertical screens and wainscoting around the nave and the meeting room. Traditional methods entirely consistent with the original construction were used to conserve and renew the original building and features.
In the entrance of the chapel were some beautiful stone memorials. A specialist memorial stone mason was brought in to remove, clean and reset the pieces into a wall within the chapel gardens to ensure this important piece of history was not lost. The original stained glass windows were also cleaned and repaired.
The renovation of the chapel, funded by a lottery grant and other charitable donations has not only removed the threats facing the building but, in creation of a community venue, café and meeting space, much of the original character of the building has been restored. Cornerstone will become an integral part of modern Cardiff just as it was in the past, bringing people together to enjoy the arts, celebrate weddings and hold conferences.
One of the key challenges when converting a listed building for a modern future is accessibility. This has been a key consideration during the project with care and attention being given to the design of every part of the chapel so that it is available to all groups of people. Outside, the grounds have been made into a tactile sensory garden for the visually impaired working with community partners including Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Cymru. Lifts have also been installed to ensure maximum access for wheelchair users and the infirm.
Officially opened by Prince Charles in December 2016, Cornerstone has already held events including a charity concert and weddings. As a focal point to one of Cardiff’s leading areas of architectural importance, it is believed Cornerstone will help in the long overdue regeneration of Charles Street, with important knock-on effects for the economy and tourism of Wales.
“Charles Street itself is on the cusp of regeneration…Cornerstone has already provided a stimulus for the regeneration of the neglected architectural landscape of Charles Street” – Canon Peter Collins
Images courtesy of http://www.chasbretonphotography.co.uk