Olson Kundig Architects will be breaking ground this year for the construction of the Gethsemane Lutherane Church in Seatle. The $20 million project includes the remodeling of the church’s main sanctuary, design of a garden, chapel and a new parish life center that includes offices, a library, fellowship hall, kitchen and social services. Above the parish life center, a five-story, fifty-unit complex of affordable housing, designed by SMR Architects, will provide the final addition to the Church.
More about the remodeling of Gethsemane Lutherane Church after the break.
Jim Olson is eading the design of the new church, which is replacing a 50-year old brick building on the same site in the Denny Triangle neighborhood. Over the last fifty years the downtown neighborhood has seen property values rising, along with the number of homeless that rely on the oldest church in Seattle. Rather than selling the property, the congregation unanimously voted to keep the site and remodel the building in such a way that it provides a greater outreach to the community.
On the street level the church will serve as a beacon of light, illuminated by a mosaic of translucent and colored glass – the newly designed chapel. The emphasis on openness, safety and sanctuary is imperative to giving the church a continued strong presence in the community. The garden space provides the connection between the public life of the street and private life of the church. It is located on the corner adjacent to the chapel and fellowship hall within and is open to the public during the day.
The presence of natural light is emphasized in the interior spaces. The space between the new housing complex and the existing sanctuary will provide a channel for soft natural light to enter the sanctuary and other internal spaces, enforcing the sense of tranquility that is sought after in spiritual spaces.