Metropolitan United Church Renovation
The desire for a flexible and welcoming multipurpose environment capable to host both church services as well as community performances served as the key design driver behind the award-winning transformation of a downtown London landmark.
The reimagined Metropolitan United Church, located on Wellington Street, will continue to function as a place of worship for its congregation while simultaneously serving as the new home for London Symphonia – the city’s professional symphony.
Extensive stakeholder engagement identified key functionality that was to be both retained and added by the reimagined sanctuary, chancel, and stage. For church functions, the existing two pulpit stage layout was replaced by a single, centrally-located lectern, with choir seating shifted from the rear of the stage to form a horseshoe shape. In concert state, the new stage can take multiple configurations able to accommodate as many as 46 musicians.
Design decisions – including a moveable organ, moveable lectern, and large curving retractable stage stairs – allow further flexibility of the space to match the specific and unique needs of different user groups. The now fully-accessible space also further supports its mission to be truly welcoming to all community members – regardless of ability.
The project, completed in Fall 2022, was recognized with the 2023 London Heritage Award for Adaptive Re-Use. The awards are presented annually by Architectural Conservancy Ontario – London Region and the Heritage London Foundation.