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lighthouse church

a cultural project at the heart of high street renewal

Lighthouse Church is designed to provide a renewed Christian presence and sense of community in the heart of Heswall.

The extensive glazing invites people to step inside and creates a new relationship with the existing streetscape and wider Heswall community, embracing the concept of hospitality already embraced by the church congregation. The church accommodates a wide range of outreach and community events including concerts, exhibitions, playgroups, youth activities, classes, counselling, advice and community support services.


The Parish of Heswall


Heswall, Wirral


  • 960m2

Contract value:

£2 million




Won: 2023 Merseyside Civic Design Awards ‘Best New Build Project’

a new worship space

shedkm worked closely with The Parish of Heswall to design a new space to replace the existing church and parish hall buildings, which were in poor condition and no longer fit for purpose. Aside from immediate issues of condition and maintenance, there was a lack of physical connection between the two buildings which severely restricted the kind of events and services that could be held, and a lack of interaction with the streets on either side. The design of the new Lighthouse Church provides a building to support and revitalise community usage and engagement and to serve the needs of the parish.

The heart of shedkm’s design approach is about embracing the Church’s established ethos of welcome and hospitality, combined with improving street presence to create a sense of place with a strong new identity. shedkm drew on conversations with a wide range of church members and attended various groups and activities to successfully challenge the initial design brief which imagined a more conventional approach. The whole church embraced the vision and enthusiastically supported a new approach, which envisaged a building more in line with their vision as an organisation and able to support future growth.

design approach

The design response is conceived as a simple, rigorous volume that extends the full length of the site offering a welcoming front to both streets. The building is composed of a limited number of components geared towards simplicity, usability and deliverability, with a strong idea of a simple pitched volume, inspired by ecclesiastical forms, beneath which all the main spaces are organised. The worship space is at the heart of the building, lit by clerestory glazing. This space is flanked by a hospitality space and a community space.

The three main spaces are separated by carefully designed objects containing flexible meeting spaces which can be opened up to extend the main spaces. These smaller elements create a layering of uses and spaces visible to the street and a contemporary ecclesiastical identity. The essence of the proposal is to ‘de-cellularise’ a conventional layout of rooms served by corridors and provide a more flexible and efficient ‘without walls’ arrangement of spaces that flow seamlessly within and provide flexibility to host a diverse range of different activities and groups.

high street identity

The new building has a distinctive identity and a strong presence within Heswall, contributing to its setting through high quality architecture and materials, as well as the daily life and activity visible through the carefully positioned glazing. As the first new public building in the town for over 50 years, the Lighthouse Church was designed to be a bold intervention, setting a new standard for design quality and with the potential to reinvigorate the high street and public realm. Whilst deliberately modern in style, the proposed building has been designed with the historic context and street-scape very much in mind. The ridge height of the proposed building has been set by the height of the previous church building and the pitched form takes its cue from historic ecclesiastical buildings. The Lighthouse Church name and branding was conceived by shedkm as part of our initial ideas and to reflect the ethos of the church and the idea of the building being a physical and metaphorical beacon in the community, highlighting the glowing outward facing elevations that are such a contrast to the previous impermeable walls.

“the external treatment is contemporary and almost industrial in form, but does not seem out of place and creates a landmark in the busy high street. the building, in addition to its primary use as a church, clearly performs a vital community function…”

Judge, Merseyside Civic Design Awards