Aitken turnbull’s design creates new church as community centrepiece to new 3000 home development in Perth

Award-winning architecture firm Aitken Turnbull has designed a modern, new-look Church to blend seamlessly within the expansive Bertha Park development on the outskirts of Perth. Perth Presbytery formed a Mission Initiative to create a new type of church within Bertha Park to act as a place of worship and be a focal point for fostering […]
Aitken turnbull’s design creates new church as community centrepiece to new 3000 home development in Perth

Nov 20, 2023

  • Perth Presbytery Mission Initiative (PMI) tasks award-winning architects to create religious hub for new Bertha Park development.

Award-winning architecture firm Aitken Turnbull has designed a modern, new-look Church to blend seamlessly within the expansive Bertha Park development on the outskirts of Perth.

Perth Presbytery formed a Mission Initiative to create a new type of church within Bertha Park to act as a place of worship and be a focal point for fostering greater community relations. The 3000-home development, to be completed over the next 30 years, sits on the edge of Perth which also consists of a new high school and other local amenities.

Today, new build churches tend not to be the gothic-spired buildings of yesteryear. For Bertha Park, The Perth Presbytery Mission Initiative (PMI) chose to transform a retail space sitting in the heart of the development, believing there was an opportunity to inject a fresh perspective, offering the church an accessible presence in the community while allowing people the opportunity to come together to build relations and connections.

Aitken Turnbull was appointed to carry out the change of use and fit-out of the former retail unit. The new community facility will establish a permanent presence in the Bertha Park area thanks to The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland and Perth Presbytery.

The building also provides a meeting and workspace for the local Church of Scotland community minister.

Moreover, as a community hub, the development will also play host to a range of community benefits and activities, coffee mornings, community café, drop-in centre, worship, and study groups.

Sebastian Mercer, Senior Architect, Aitken Turnbull comments,

“In our 130-year history, I believe this is the first time we’ve been asked to design a new church building. The overall objective was to create a flexible open plan space, providing a workable and interchangeable home to various community activities. We were delighted to be appointed to work with Perth Presbytery on such an interesting and inspirational focal point on the Bertha Park Development. The Church is destined to be the cornerstone of the community.”

A representative of the Perth Presbytery Mission Initiative added,

“We’re delighted with our new, purpose made, community space. We have already welcomed lots of local people and community partners through the door and look forward to fostering deeper relationships as we serve the Bertha Park community. Aitken Turnbull Architects listened carefully to our requirements and delivered a fantastic, functional, and beautiful space.”

The Rev Dr John Ferguson, Presbytery Clerk comments,

“Presbytery is delighted at the progress being made with the development at Bertha Park.  It is a clear sign that the Church of Scotland is active within our communities and can reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ without necessarily having a conventional church building in doing so. We believe that the Bertha Park project points to the exciting future that the Church has in communities throughout our Presbytery. 

It is a reminder that while there are many situations of concern about the closure of buildings, there is also much good news in our Presbytery to celebrate.” The Church opened its doors in mid-September and over time, as the Bertha Park development takes shape, it is hoped that this fosters many new communities and inspire future initiatives ultimately integrating successfully into the Bertha Park Community in the coming years.

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