Text description provided by the architects. How does faith take physical form? That was a question that helped guide DIALOG’s team through the design of St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College has been educating Catholic priests in the Canadian prairies since 1927.
When it was time to move to a more central location in the city, the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton commissioned DIALOG to design their new post-secondary college and seminary.
This extraordinarily beautiful site at the crest of the North Saskatchewan River bank overlooking downtown Edmonton became an enduring, elegant symbol of Catholic faith in the community when the seminary opened in September 2010.
Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, made a statement at the outset of the project: “The Catholic Church thinks in hundreds of years.” This simple phrase helped shape every aspect of the design, guiding the project team to create a beautiful seminary and college with a sense of permanence, a modern rendition of traditional church architecture with timeless elegance.
The design of the Seminary speaks to faith and community. It is grounded in the history and tradition of religious architecture with spaces for learning, prayer, community and contemplation. At the same time, it is open and inviting, the embodiment of a contemporary and vital institution with strong connections to the broader community.
It is sustainable and enduring architecture, appropriate and respectful of its surroundings. At the heart of the Seminary is the chapel. Its white concrete walls, embracing curves, stained glass windows and dark sandstone floors create a movingly spiritual space. A walled garden extends the chapel outward to engage nature, a quiet, contemplative outdoor space in the middle of an active urban environment.