Sympathetic renovation gives St John’s Church in Waterloo new lease of life

Eric Parry Architects has worked with Revd Canon Giles Goddard, Vicar of St John’s, to create a new and welcoming space in London

minimalist church in london
(Image credit: Dirk Lindner)

St John’s Church in Waterloo has been sensitively restored by Eric Parry Architects with the completion of an extensive £5.5 million project. The renovation of the Grade II*-listed church has made core design codes a priority, with the preservation of the original architecture of Francis Bedford in the 19th century. Other elements – including changes incorporated a century later following wartime bombing, and altar paintings by German-Jewish refugee Hans Feibusch – have also been saved.

Eric Parry Architects combines this history with a savvy modernity, in a design that aims to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 thanks to new solar panels, as well as the commencement of works for the installation of air source heat pumps – mixing religious with minimalist architecture as well as sustainable architecture

minimalist white church interior

(Image credit: Dirk Lindner)

The company, appointed in 2010, has been working closely with Revd Canon Giles Goddard, the Vicar of St John’s, to ensure the space is both welcoming and open, a philosophy reflected in the remodelled church entrance and lift, for fully accessible access.

‘The renovation of St John’s has been a huge and challenging project, seen through with hard work and the utmost dedication of all involved,’ says the Revd Canon. ‘So it’s thrilling to feel the building coming to life as we reopen. The congregation and the local community are already taking the new St John’s to their hearts as they discover how much more accessible, inspiring and welcoming the spaces are. And we’re seeing the enormous power the church now has to bring people together – in many and sometimes unexpected ways.’

minimalist church altar in London

(Image credit: Dirk Lindner)

The new space, already a concert venue and home to the Waterloo Festival, will also become a location for community and arts organisations to host cultural programmes, youth, experimental and fringe events. ‘The conclusion of works at St John’s Waterloo will begin a new chapter in the remarkable life of the church, nearly 200 years after its dedication,’ says Eric Parry, principal and founder of Eric Parry Architects. ‘

St John’s is a place for worship and spiritual enrichment amid the hubbub of one of London’s busiest districts. These renovations enhance the facilities of the church to meet its ambitions of inclusivity, creativity and openness and play a role in the cultural, social and spiritual life of Waterloo.’

mininalist seating area in renovated old church

(Image credit: Dirk Lindner)

exterior hero shot of st john's church inwaterloo, London on a sunny day

(Image credit: Eleanor Bentall)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.