Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church / Teeple Architects

© Shai Gil Photography

The new Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church, designed by Teeple Architects, has been conceived as a direct reflection of the liturgical vision of its Baptist congregation. This liturgical vision has a dual focus – fellowship, which the church characterizes as horizontal relationships between people, and spirituality, which is seen as a vertical relationship between people and God.

Project description, images, and drawings following the break.

Architect: Teeple Architects
Location: Scarborough, , Canada
Principal in Charge: Stephen Teeple (OAA, FRAIC)
Project Team: Cheryl Atkinson, Bernard Jin, David Jensen, William Elsworthy, Graham Baxter
Structural Engineer: CPE
Mechanical Engineer: LKM
Electrical Engineer: LKM
Civil: Masongsong
Landscape Architect: Dutoit Allsopp Hillier
General Contractor: Derbtile Construction Inc.
Project Area: 80,000 sqf
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Shai Gil Photography

© Shai Gil Photography

The physical form and experience of the church directly reflect this vision. Horizontal roofs and views to the wood lot setting characterize the community wing, while soaring vertical forms that with an emphasis on natural light from above characterize the sanctuary.

© Shai Gil Photography

These wings are interconnected by the fellowship hall, a place of gathering before and after each service. The church serves both as a significant place of worship with a sanctuary for 1,600 and as a focal point of activity for the Chinese community in Scarborough, offering recreation (a large gymnasium) banquet facilities, and meeting places.

© Shai Gil Photography

The church is nestled into a clearing in a remnant wood lot, along Kennedy Road in suburban Scarborough. The wood lot becomes essential to the experience of the church. It is the focal point of a 200-seat chapel and a point of reference as one moves through the public circulation spaces of the church.

© Shai Gil Photography

The project included the City of Toronto’s first approved bio swale parking lot. Storm water is processed through a sequence of swales that are planted with specific plant materials and special soils. The project also achieved an extremely high level of energy efficiency at a very low cost, through a carefully designed building envelope and heat recovery systems.

© Shai Gil Photography

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church / Teeple Architects" 06 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    first picture is very attractive.. reminds me Saarinen and Calatrava… nice view…

  • osj

    it feels like a high school auditorium with a cross… reminds me of those mega churches with no atmosphere

  • anonymous

    Hi osj,
    It’s actually got quite a bit of atmosphere… at first I also thought it would be too big, but I’ve come to see that the close, community feel is still there… now we just have more room to breathe! :)
    We’ve got a large congregation, so all the (vertical) space helps to make it feel less stuffy. This building is very big, but it doesn’t feel like it at all when you’re in the hall after service. In our old building, it was really crowded in the foyer before and after service; the “fellowship hall” in this design is very spacious and allows for people to linger and chat while maintaining traffic flow.