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Sustaining Our ‘Thin Places’

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Deborah Nicol
Robert Gordon University | UK
Historic church buildings in Scotland are currently in a place of vulnerability. Changes within church practice mean that these historic buildings no longer satisfy the brief of the contemporary church. Literature review demonstrates the value of church buildings to the built heritage of Scotland and that this value is, at least in part, held within their continued use for sacred purposes. Therefore, this dissertation sought to demonstrate how, and indeed whether, the historic church building could be adapted for contemporary church practice by means that preserve holistic heritage value.

A mixed methods approach of user interviews and case studies was subsequently employed. Data analysis determined that the historic church is suitable for contemporary church practice. It is made suitable through thoughtful architectural interventions that preserve and enhance the tangible and intangible heritage held within these buildings. An holistic approach preserves noteworthy architectural elements and sustains the environment in which they exist.

Therefore, it was concluded that thoughtful adaptation of these ‘thin places’ that punctuate our skylines celebrates previous generations of faith, sustains current generations of faith and invests in future generations of faith.

Deborah Nicol

Tutor(s)
Richard Laing
2020
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