Salvation Army Citadel Corps
by Hudson Architects



Hudson Architects have completed a new "citadel" for the Salvation Army in Chelmsford, UK.


The new building gives the religious organisation a new worship hall and community facilities.


Photos are by Keith Collie.


Here's some text from the architects:


Hudson Architects’ new building for the Salvation Army in Chelmsford is the first Citadel Corps building designed in a contemporary idiom using modern methods of construction.


It breaks the mould of the traditional brick citadel, not only in its materiality but also in its plan.


Constructed entirely of timber and cloaked in an undulating zinc roof, the £2 million building provides 900 sq m new accommodation for the Chelmsford mission on the site of the premises it has occupied since 1974.


The new centre reflects the two sides of the mission, providing an assembly hall for worship as well as recreational facilities for the wide range of community outreach activities such as over 60’s clubs, youth activities and toddler care. The building’s plan recognises that these two aspects are interconnected whilst offering flexibility and separation to permit activities to function simultaneously. An indoor sports hall,  outdoor play area, lounge, kitchen and foyer with reception café facilities are arranged around a 320-seater worship hall, with administration offices located on the first floor.


The building is constructed using a cross-laminated timber panel system pioneered by manufacturers KLH of Austria. This system offers all the advantages of reinforced concrete construction without the environmental cost. It also has a practical purpose, ensuring an efficient construction process, keeping costs down and making the building affordable.


The entrance elevation on Baddow Road has a domestic scale, which relates to the existing streetscape and connects the citadel to Chelmsford town centre. The elevation on Parkway is bolder and more dynamic, featuring a 13m tall x 3m wide contemporary steeple clad in a radiant light film. The two elevations are linked by a zinc butterfly roof which cloaks the entire building. The East elevation is clad in rockpanel board which has been CNC router pattern-cut with a bespoke graphic based on the concept of the growing tree of life and featuring scriptural excerpts that summarise the ethos of the Salvation Army.


Status: Completed 2009
Value: £2 million
Architects: Hudson Architects


Posted on Thursday August 6th 2009 at 11:21 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • angry catalan

    So this is basically a Scharoun church?

  • ray

    The 2001 monolith in the first shot looks amazing; the rest not so convincing. Quite boring really. Shame as its for an organisation that does such good things.

  • Dave

    Are prison courtyards trendy now? Actually, I think some prison courtyards actually have trees and grass in them. So I don’t know what to call that.

  • gab is on a mission today. Something the architects might have tried too…
    No. No, no, no, indeed. American Post Office; correctional facility… it could be something like those things.
    But it is none of them.

  • ed

    Bit of a shocker of a project, just looks like an ugly shed covered in tin foil. What happened to the architecture? The flatness of the tower, and the lumpy fenestration is so jarring. shame.

  • Hamid

    Very nice prison. its great to inpire the prisoners with art and architecture!

  • DLO

    err, am i missing something? I think this is fantastic, not sure what everyone’s grumbling about!

  • Ewan

    I pass this building sporadically when I visit my parents whole live in Chelmsford. Originally I thought the same as many of the other comments above; horrid, vile, eye-sore, a poor attempt to produce an ‘icon’. However, as time has passed and I have discussed it a little further (and indeed thought about it a little more than momentarily as I drive past) I have come to realise it is the perfect building for The Salvation Army.

    The building is positioned on one of the three main arterial routes into chelmsford but until the new building was completed, no-one even knew that the Salvation Army was based there. This new building has not only stamped their presence into what was otherwise an exceptionally mediocrem, semi-urban site but it has made the Salvation Army a talking point again…and from what I understand (via the parental ‘lay person’ point of view) a bit of a local success story. If you consider yourself to be a architect/designer with any social merit, this building should stand out as a triumph.

    Sure, there may be prettier ways of dealing with the issues involved, and I’m not saying that it doesn’t look like a prison inside; but I do think that it deserves a little bit more praise than its currently getting.

  • George

    Am I missing something too. I think this building looks great

  • dman

    I’m not sure where these comments for boring and prison-like depictions are coming from? This building sits on a busy urban site, and the facade is clean and bold and stands up to that and the context which it sits in. People would be saying worse if it was brick or untreated larch I suppose.

    The spaces created by this building is what makes it. The fashion shoot photographs of its external angles obviously try to appeal to the non-architecturally inclined public, but I know for certain this was not an attempt to create an “icon”. The tall elevated cross is merely making a gesture to balance the repeating roof patterns. Inside the details are clean and comfortable and in terms of actual finishes and fittings, this building is of a very high standard, and it was on budget.

    It seems dezeen promotes knee-jerk vilification of projects without closer scrutiny of what makes or does not make a building “a success” or not. Explanations are great, but sporadic negative comments are just bad for people trying to put new work out into the world.

    My 2p.