Text description provided by the architects. The Parish’s objective for their new spiritual home was to create a destination that was more than a Sunday worship space. A community center setting where parishioners could spend their day in fellowship through worship, religious study, recreation, art appreciation, music and dining. The Church acquired a 24-acre site in northern New Jersey that had the base structures and open areas to establish a strong community campus. Existing outdoor recreation and reflection areas together with a former religious facility set the scene for the new building.
The sanctuary of the new 32,800 square foot facility accommodates 380 worshipers and is acoustically designed to accommodate music recitals and performances as well as its traditional function. Across a service zone, a multipurpose space gathers the parishioners before and after services. This two-story space has a mezzanine art gallery featuring works by parishioners. Comfortable seating areas receive natural light from a large skylight above. The lower level contains children’s chapels for three different age groups, which are occupied when the adults are in mass.
The recreation space also includes an indoor basketball court and a kitchen facility. The monolithic vertical fins of the sanctuary have three primary functions; they allow diffused light in and out of the space through floor-to-ceiling slots of patterned glass; they reinforce the acoustic quality of performances along with the ceiling system; and lastly they are sculptural elements in the landscape. The vertical expression of the stair, which serves as a beacon much like a classic bell tower, gives way to the horizontal lines of the main entrance façade. The façade incorporates a warm palate of materials utilizing bands of red brick, wood doors, and vision glass at a pedestrian scale welcoming to parishioners.