John Wesley's New Room, the oldest Methodist building in the world.

John Wesley's New Room

Creating a new extension from an underused courtyard to expand facilities

South West
The Methodist Church
  • LABC Building Excellence Bristol: Best Public Services Building 2018

An underused courtyard within John Wesley’s New Room has been skillfully converted into a multi-purpose extension of the Grade I-listed building.

A new education suite, enlarged library and archive facilities, and administrative offices are housed within a new glass and steel structure, carefully integrated into the existing structure.

The challenge for this project is that the site is a relatively small urban courtyard defined on three sides by buildings in separate ownership and with rights of light. The fourth side is formed by the Grade I-listed New Room. The courtyard contains a Grade II-listed statue, standing and below ground archaeology, trees, and existing lean-to structures.

The proposed design solution maintains and enhances an existing axial route leading from a busy shopping street to the tranquility of John Wesley's New Room. Visitors will experience a sequence of distinct external and internal spaces culminating in a double-height glazed courtyard immediately adjacent to the existing building. From here visitors can climb a discreet stair to the first floor library and archive facility, and the new education suite on the second floor. A new glazed bridge will span between new and old, allowing full wheelchair access to the refurbished and represented museum.