LocationVancouver, BC, Canada
From the architect. The Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Free Church draws a congregation of the faithful from across the Greater Vancouver Region. The Church is much more than a place of worship for the people; it is also a home for the community.
Situated on a corner lot within a busy urban neighbourhood, the Church serves as a beckoning landmark in a low-rise landscape of undistinguished, single-family dwellings. The transitional sequence from an uninspiring external context to an internal one of communion and contemplation was a guiding principal for the design. Four, masonry buttress elements define the site and anchor the spaces of the building around a quiet central courtyard. The courtyard is a place for restful reflection and social activity.
The sanctuary is the spiritual heart of the religious house and community. The adjacent baptistery is a soaring double-height space that articulates its unique purpose and spiritual function. Ancillary flexible spaces and multipurpose rooms for educational and non-religious activities are organized around the movement of the sun. Sunday school classrooms are oriented to receive the gentle morning rays, while the tall western façade shields the courtyard from the harsh afternoon light to ensure the outdoor space remains a sanctum at all times. Youth activity spaces, such as the “Awana” multi-purpose room are situated adjacent to the sanctuary. The layout reinforces the peaceful experience throughout the facility, as well as providing a sense of separation from the secular.