Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All Saints Church, Lewiston, Idaho

In Lewiston, Idaho, three individual Parishes are in the process of combining into one and are planning to build a new Campus to include the Church, Social Hall and Elementary School on a 42 acre site. MCM Architects are creating a long term master plan and the design and construction drawings for the Church and Social Hall. The project is organized around a central courtyard that creates a common point of entry to all the facilities and allows the church to be directly visible from inside the school. The overall form and materials of the project are traditional in nature with an emphasis on Roman Bascilica Churches for inspiration. A tower from one of the three existing Churches will be relocated and rescaled to act as a Sheep Gate entry marker to the courtyard.

We believe that the design of a sacred space is in itself an act of faith. The Architect and the Congregation must share a belief that, through collaboration and a shared set of values, they can create a space that will serve not only the present members but also future generations. That faith and the results of several centuries of Church architecture continue to inform each new building that is built for every faith, in every corner of the world. Religious structures are testaments to a deep collaboration between us as Architects and the Congregations and Clergy, who through their consent, allow us to bring forth our creative energy to assist in their service to God. Great sacred architecture is always a collaboration.

In this project the lineage of the old churches represents an important part of the community and we are committed to bringing elements of that collective memory forward in the creation of a new sacred place. A worship space is by nature a place of memory. We endeavor to reflect that memory in ways that are both direct and recognizable as will as abstract and representative of the spirit of the old place.

Doug Benson, AIA

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Marylhurst University, Clark Plaza

The existing conditions

The design concept

The finished product

The space between the main classroom building and the Student Union at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon, was a parking lot and service yard for deliveries and garbage collection from the kitchen. So every day people had to wind their way through a parking lot and past the trash bins to get between the two main campus buildings. There was also about a six foot change in elevation. The design concept for the space was to use the simple and clean modernist elevation of the Commons building as a stage backdrop for a casual landscape amphitheater. The stage has become a gathering place for students and faculty. The movable furniture can be rearranged to meet a multitude of activities, from small classes to catered events or performances. Two diagonal ramps provide ADA accessibility and are placed to facilitate connection to areas of campus on either side. This way the ADA accessible route is not an awkward set of ramps placed to the side, but is the main circulation path used by everyone.

This is an example of how a major impact can be made on the usability, character and image of a campus for a relatively small amount of money.