Text description provided by the architects. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.