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St Barnabas
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St Barnabas's is unusual because it is a fairly lavish new church building of the 1990s, sited within five miles of the centre of London. It was built in 1995-6 by Larry Malcic of the American firm of Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum to replace a church which had been destroyed by fire in 1992. The modernity of the design ensured that there was determined opposition until planning permission was granted in 1994.

St Barnabas

The thin glass spire can be illuminated and provides a landmark in Dulwich.


The church stands well back from the road and is attached to ancillary buildings that curve round the right-hand side of the drive. The profile from the west is of two gables of ascending height, and of a tall, thin glass spire beyond. The 19 metre (62 ft) spire attracted disproportionate opposition, given that its shape and size are unexceptional; only its material was novel, and the fact that it could be illuminated. The body of the church is built of russet brick, Cumbrian sandstone and Delabole slate, none of which reflects strident modernity. What is clearly not traditional is the arrangement of the windows, which are very large under the gable ends, but which figure little in the side elevations. The interior might be said to make up an undivided Greek cross at ground level, but there is a longitudinal pull from the wooden roof, which resembles a barrel-vault. The altar is placed in the centre. The more traditional Anglican focus, the east end, now houses the substantial new pipe organ in its decorative case, by Kenneth Tickell & Co., which constitutes the most striking furnishing. It is carefully framed by patterned stained glass in the east window, which Goddard & Gibbs made to the designs of Caroline Swash.

St Barnabas

The church has a central altar, but a major focus is the pairing of the new organ and a stained-glass window at the east end.



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