Rowand Anderson, Kininmonth and Paul, 1965-1966 (Principal William Kininmonth; project and design architect, Tom Duncan); adjoining 1857, rectangular-plan rubble former Free church (interior later altered to gymnasium/hall); later hall (1915) and main hall (1958) linked to SW of site. Roughly-rectangular plan Modernist church with plan diagonally cut on NE corner with rounded edges, on prominent corner site with swept up fins to roofline. Dry dash render, brick and laminated timber beam construction. Monolithic concrete cross in swept up shallow concave niche facing side road to E fronting and supporting recessed porch to NE corner entrance, deep boarded timber eaves above narrow horizontal clerestory; N (sanctuary and vestry end) elevation with double-height convex apse with pointed fins; 5 vertical, rendered buttresses to W facing semi-enclosed courtyard, continuous plate glass in large timber frames; overhanging timber boarded eaves raked up at 45 degree angle.
INTERIOR: Scandinavian inspired design. Exposed laminated beams with a composite of framing timbers, including columns, timber lined ceiling; raked seating, long varnished light timber pews; architect-designed pulpit, font and furniture in varnished light timber.
Timber framed windows. Flat roof.
1857 CENTURY FORMER CHURCH and HALLS: rectangular-plan, squared snecked rubble former church (originally built as Free Church, linked to modern church by glazed link to SE, converted to hall/gymnasium in 1966). Pointed arched doorway to N, flanking pointed arched windows (blocked). 2 wide bays to E and W with squared coursed rubble and pointed arched windows (blocked). 1915 HALL: single-storey rectangular-plan rendered hall, at right angle to 1857 church and obscuring S elevation; later subdivided with offices and storage rooms. 1958 HALL: to SW corner of site connected internally to 1915 hall, rectangular-plan, square windows to E; continuous glazing to W; pitched, slate roof.
Statement of Special Interest
Brucefield represents the best of post-war church design in Scotland during the 1960s and can be included among a small group of innovative sculptural compositions for the Church of Scotland. The church was one of a select number of post-war commissions for the Church of Scotland which was emphatically modernist in its conception and was spearheaded in this parish by the forward-thinking Rev William McMartin. Church of Scotland buildings of this period were generally more conservative in design than their Roman Catholic counterparts, however a small group - and some notably designed by the practice of Rowan Anderson, Kininmonth & Paul - were the exeption, including St Mary Magdalene, Portobello (1966) and the Category A-listed Craigsbank, Corstorphine (1964-7). The open-plan design demonstrates the move to a less hierarchical form of worship occurring during this period follow the principles of the contemporary Liturgical Movement.
This church building is comparable to many existing post-war church listings of Gillespie Kidd & Coia, and as a design, is wholly representative of expressionistic Modernism, in the vein of Le Corbusier's later work, and in particular, Notre-Dame du Haut, Ronchamp.
The site has been particularly well-planned, with the swept and recessed entrance providing a focus to the corner. As well, the relationship of the new to old is highly successful in recreating a 'cloister'. The influence of Spence at Coventry can be sited, albeit modest in this situation. The quality of the interior is high and well-ordered, reflecting the contemporary taste for Scandinavian design, and the architect-designed furniture (including pews, pulpit, font and other pieces) is also contemporary and significant to the overall design concept of the church.
This church commission was personal to the architect, Tom Duncan, who was a native of Whitburn and a long-standing member of the parish. He apprenticed with the esteemed practice of Rowand Anderson, Kininmonth and Paul, starting with them in 1948. Kininmonth was still the principle while Brucefield Church was erected. Duncan assisted Kininmonth with many other noteworthy developments during the 50s, 60s and 70s including Salisbury Green, Pollok Halls for the University of Edinburgh (listed Category A) and Elgin Town Hall (listed Category B) for which he was largely responsible, Town Centre Redevelopment and West Port Redevelopment, Linlithgow (Saltire Awards gained for both, 1970), and a number of similar projects in West Lothian and throughout Scotland.
The original Brucefield Parish Church was located in Longridge Road; the parish took possession of the former Free Church in East Main Street from circa 1930. The total cost of the commission was £32,500 which was coordinated by the Church of Scotland National Extension Committee, begun in 1949.