St Saviour’s Church in Walton Place Knightsbridge originally designed by Belgrave Square architect George Basevi in 1838 was an interesting and challenging project. The brief to Will Caradoc-Hodgkins was the conversion of a lofty church directly behind Harrods into a private residence whilst at the same time creating a smaller place of worship for parishioners. This included the unusual request to re-locate the organ and create a massive acoustic wall between the house and the church. However this proved to be small fry compared with the task of supporting the church on 40 hydraulic jacks to allow excavation for an underground swimming pool and games room. The a four storey home with basement swimming pool was owned for six years by Les Misérables and Miss Saigon writer Alain Boublil who sold it in 2009. It has since undergone a makeover to create one of the finest private homes in Knightsbridge and was recently sold for £50 million.
The building is a Grade II Listed church, constructed in the Victorian Gothic style. It was in decline, with a congregation too small for the building and a lack of funds for restoration and repair. The church was divided in two with part, the southern half, converted to a four bedroom private house and the northern half restored, renovated and retained as a smaller church.
Significant structural changes involved partial demolition while retaining the entrance façade. We created a basement that involved temporarily propping up the church on hydraulic jacks located under the eight nave columns. Behind the façade of the former church hall, a courtyard was constructed so that the house would have windows facing out onto it. The new basement under the smaller church is used as a storage room and a swimming pool is located in the new basement under the house for the use of its occupants.
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