Holy Rosary Church Complex / Trahan Architects


Architects: Trahan Architects, APAC
Location: Lousiana, USA
Project Architect: Victor F. “Trey” Trahan III, FAIA
Design team: Brad David, Kirk Edwards
Structural Engineer: Schrenk & Peterson Consulting Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer: Apex Engineering Corporation
BUILDER: Quality Design and Construction, Inc.
Project Area: 1,586 sqm
Project year: 2004
Photographer: Tim Hursley / The Arkansas Office

014 043 084 1113

The design of the Holy Rosary Complex-comprised of an oratory, administrative building, and religious education building-for a rural Catholic Parish in South Louisiana, is an honest exploration of form, function, light and materials that results in an engaging and profound study in sacred space. Neither opulent nor austere, Holy Rosary Chapel presents a thoughtful meditation on sacred spaces and the spatial embodiment of spiritual experience.

plan 02

The masterplan for the rural campus creates a strong sense of place and draws a distinction between the program’s sacred and secular components. Secular components of the campus take form as linear or “edge” buildings-an administrative block, two linear classroom bars, a religious education building-which form the courtyard in which the oratory is located. The oratory, or chapel, is the focus of the otherwise orthogonal composition, but is itself skewed to further underscore its importance and to create a sense of expectation.


Working with a limited palette of poured-in-place , plate glass and cast glass, the architects created a meditative environment that places a high importance on spatial characteristics and the play of light on these humble materials.

Design of the oratory stems from the concept of the womb-a universal, pure and sacred space. All six sides of the oratory cube sides are equal in size, color and texture. The result is an interior space that feels encompassing, protective and mysterious.


Light enters through a variety of openings carved from the wall thickness without revealing context or light source beyond. In addition to giving occupants a sense of orientation, the obscured presence of light is symbolic of the paschal mystery of Christ.

Cite: "Holy Rosary Church Complex / Trahan Architects" 27 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=30145>
  • tchouah

    Marvelus interpretation of a “cloitre”

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  • http://www.blog.tropicalismo360.com tropicalismo360

    A masterful lesson in the use of concrete and glass.

    • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]

      I agree :)

      • shetu

        Me too. A project that makes me jealous!

    • http://www.talkitect.com Lucas Gray

      right on. A small material palette often leads to great design!

  • JK

    My favorite sinks of all time.

  • Wargo

    Peace of mind

  • http://www.tlphotoanddesign.blogspot.com Troy Lemieur

    The drains used for the sinks are genius!

  • public eye

    I thought of writing something. But it would not matter. But then I couldn’t help it cause I really like it.

  • http://www.talkitect.com Lucas Gray

    This is amazing. A true lesson in how simplicity can be so powerful.

  • rk

    beautiful! the concrete reads like smooth travertine.

  • sullka

    Beautiful project, I thought it was posted already here, maybe I was wrong.

    Hard to believe is American, looks more like Spain minimalism, something Campo Baeza would do.

    Lovely work.

  • http://www.structurehub.com/blog StructureHub Blog

    Unlike Trahan’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame design, this design is magnificent – particularly the use of a lighter, cream-colored and rammed-earth-appearing concrete form, which softens the sun light and adds textural depth. The plan has much clarity, without being boring in the least, as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Denver-CO/KUNG-architecture/77524147846 Gosia Kung, AIA

    this makes me belive in God

    • Frank Phelps

      :) me too. makes me want to go to church

  • Tuf-Pak

    Really great. It’s so hard to do good projects like this in the US… we need more of these.

  • chris mccauley


    • Bob BIABD

      Namaz Khaneh (Prayer Room) National Carpet Museum, Laleh Park, Tehran, Iran.
      A tiny Moslem place of prayer aligned towards Mecca.
      Designed by Dibo and Parvin Pezeshki. More.
      In Minimum by John Pawson.© 1996 Phaidon Press Limited.

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  • http://www.sunflowerdesigns.hu/ Andrew Geber

    great play with form and function

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  • Steve

    The concept and design are superb! But I have visited this building, and it is nearly in disrepair, and the church no longer occupies some of the spaces because of leaks through the inset lighting fixtures. The intricate glass door on the Oratory has been replaced with a standard Aluminum Store Front Door, and most of the concrete is stained and moldy. Its really unfortunate.

    • Bob BIABD


  • Bob BIABD

    Namaz Khaneh (Prayer Room) National Carpet Museum, Laleh Park, Tehran, Iran.
    A tiny Moslem place of prayer aligned towards Mecca.

    In Minimum by John Pawson.© 1996 Phaidon Press Limited.

  • Bob BIABD

    Namaz Khaneh (Prayer Room) National Carpet Museum, Laleh Park, Tehran, Iran.
    A tiny Moslem place of prayer aligned towards Mecca.
    In Minimum by John Pawson. 1996 Phaidon Press Limited.