Christ Church Spitalfields

The refurbishment of Hawksmoor's crypt to make a performance space, cafe and gallery that connect to the site

In December 2008 we won an invited architectural design competition for the redevelopment of the crypt of Nicholas Hawksmoor's Grade 1 listed Church at Spitalfields.

The crypt had been subdivided over time into a series of different rooms, and our proposal strips these out, re-unifiying the crypt as one space that relates to the volume of the church above. This allows natural light to enter the centre of the plan, with a series of new enclosures reading as insertions within the volume of the vaulted crypt.

These new enclosures house the private or functional aspects of the brief, and are made of oak, responding to Hawksmoor's use of joinery in the church above to make the areas of inhabitation - stairs, window seats and balconies - that reconcile the giant order of the church with the human scale.

A new ramped entrance on Commercial Street provides a new entrance into the crypt, connecting it more concretely to the city. The crypt also opens into the gardens on the south side of the church, which are being re-landscaped by Robert Myers Associates.


Structural Engineer:


Quantity Surveyors:

Pierce Hill

Project Management:

Heritage & Community Ltd.

Access Consultants:

David Bonnett Associates

Services Engineer:

OR Consulting

Conservation Architect:

Caroe Architecture

Landscape Design:

Robert Myers Associates

Project Management:



David Grandorge


'The Crypt at Christ Church Spitalfields by Dow Jones Architects', in: Architects' Journal
(London, UK: Dec. 18, 2015)

'1735 Organ, Christ Church Spitalfields', in: Building Design
(London, UK: Oct. 30, 2015)

'Tales from the Crypt: How Dow Jones Architects Refurbishes a Hawksmoor Icon', in: Wallpaper*
(London, UK: Nov. 19, 2015)

'Dow Jones on Refurbishing a Hawksmoor Crypt', in: Building Design
(London, UK: April 4, 2012)

'First Look', in: Building Design
(London, UK: Jan. 9, 2012)

'Drawing Board', in: BD Review
(London, UK: April 1, 2010)

'Crypt Redevelopment at Christ Church Spitalfields', in: Divisare
(Rome, Italy: Nov. 19, 2015)

'Tour of Dow Jones' remodelling of Christ Church Spitalfields Crypt', in: Architecture Foundation
(London, UK: Dec. 19, 2015)

'Contemplating Christ Church, Spitalfields', in: Spitalfields Life
(London, UK: Dec. 9, 2015)

'Christ Church Crypt Restored', in: Spitalfields Life
(London, UK: Nov. 15, 2015)

'Knock on Wood: It's the Timber Industry's 2016 Wood Awards Shortlist', in: Wallpaper*
(London, UK: July 27, 2016)