calfordseaden was commissioned on this complex project to build a Sikh temple in Gravesend, incorporating education, community, office and sports facilities. Putting aside its striking appearance, the Gurdwara in Gravesend was not a conventional build. As a place of worship the project was on-site for the best part of eight years. When the project commenced there were only sufficient funds to complete the foundations, but as the project progressed the budget increased with donations being made throughout the duration of the build.

The intricately detailed stone cladding incorporates many of the design cues of a traditional Gurdwara, such as the five large marble domes, arched windows and Indian motifs which embellish the stonework. Procuring such an ornate design proved difficult given the tight budget, therefore in order to achieve the traditional detail at a realistic price, already carved stone was required to be sent directly from India. calfordseaden Partner, Teja Biring, spent two weeks in India until a company capable of handling the project was found.

Using the CAD drawing produced by our architects the stonemasons in India produced detailed designs to cut and carve the stone. The solid stone was cut to size, shaped and carved, then given a reference ready for assembling on site. Due to the weight of the panels, stonemasons from India helped with the installation to avoid chipping and damaging the edges in transit, and to carry out any adjustments if required.

The building itself is formed of cast reinforced concrete with load bearing stone panels. Each stone section rests on top of the other, bonded with an epoxy resin and tied back to the structure with stainless steel ties. Between the concrete and stone is a 100mm cavity filled with high-performance insulation to meet Part L requirements.

The entrance porch is one of the most detailed sections, bringing together intricately carved columns, marble Jali windows, traditional motifs and a marble clad dome. The five domes on the Gurdwara range in diameter from 6m to 18m. Externally the domes are covered in square marble tiles, with marble petals decorating the edges. Inside, the domes are lined with glass mosaics. Each of the four main domes has its own unique design and colour scheme whilst the dome over the entrance has a carved and vaulted ceiling.

Externally, the building is clad in granite and marble. The porch and veranda provide a focal point and is clad entirely in finely carved white marble with inlay panels and basrelief images of historic Gurdwara buildings. Inside, the floor is white marble, inlaid with coloured marble in a traditional pattern.