A sustainable event venue like no other
In the first of our Spotlight series – introducing you to a different event venue which has sustainability at its core – we’re taking you on a tour of 73 Waterloo in London, the events venue of of St John the Evangelist at Waterloo, to explain you why this really is a sustainable event venue like no other.
About the venue
The Grade II* church of St John’s at Waterloo was built 1822-24 to designs by Francis Bedford as one of the original Commissioners’ Churches.
During the Second World War, at the height of the Blitz, the church was completely devastated by a firebomb in late 1941. The crypt was actually being used as a bomb shelter at the time and did its job miraculously : the 150 people who were sheltering there were completely unscathed by the devastation of the church above them.
The church sadly then had to completely close for a huge programme of rebuilding and restoration which took over a decade, opening again in 1951 as the official church of the Festival of Britain. It was a hub for the Festival, and has remained a place where the arts, society and faith intersect ever since.
“We shape our buildings. Thereafter they shape us.”
An emphasis on sustainability
Not content with one reinvention – St John’s recently underwent a second significant phase of restoration and refurbishment in 2022, with its focus on aligning with the Church of England’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. St John’s is actually at the forefront of campaigning for climate justice as home to the multi-faith action group Faith for the Climate, and is working with the Council on Lambeth-wide initiatives. So naturally, they’ve put sustainability at the heart of everything they do in and around their building.
The restoration project fully embraced sustainable practices by incorporating 80 solar panels across most of the southern roof. To enhance energy efficiency, a new internal lobby space, separated from the nave by glass screens, was also constructed to improve the building’s airtightness and minimise heat loss through warm air circulation. The replacement of glazing and window repairs in the nave not only increased airtightness but also enhanced natural daylighting levels. Measures were taken to enhance the thermal performance of the building too, such as installing acoustic and thermal insulation and implementing double glazed thermally broken windows in the crypt. The entire renovation project also seized the opportunity to incorporate cutting-edge heat recovery ventilation units and infrastructure for air-sourced heat pumps in the nave, anticipating future advancements in technology and affordability to support their effective operation.
Support the ethos of the venue and the people it supports
As a venue, 73 Waterloo has at its heart support to the local community and it has a wide outreach programme supporting organisations such as; English for Refugees, the Ukrainian Chess Club; a Food Bank and a night shelter. The event spaces can accommodate from 25-500 and by choosing to use the space for your event you are in effect supporting everyone and everything within St John’s on an ongoing basis.
“We think this really is the true meaning of sustainability.”
Contact 73 Waterloo to find out more about booking this fantastic venue.