SFS Architecture

Worship

St. Matthew the Apostle Parish

Kansas City, MO

Elegant, economical design transforms utilitarian worship space to create sense of sacred worship environment

Challenge

Transform an existing pre-engineered worship space on an extremely tight budget to provide a “church feel” and create a simple, sacred environment.

Process

This parish had been worshipping for years in a pre-engineered metal building that was designed to become the school gymnasium. The parish was unwilling to go into debt to finance a new worship space so the SFS design team worked with church leaders to create a master plan and develop a first phase of construction that was feasible within the funds that had been raised in the capital campaign drive. Through the use of renderings, elevations and 3-D modeling, SFS was able to gain Building Committee and parish support for approval of the new design.

Solution

The redesigned worship space, which was completed for under $100/SF, turned the facility 180 degrees literally and aesthetically.  The sanctuary was moved to the north side of the building and the former narthex has been converted into a daily mass chapel located immediately behind the altar.  The concrete block walls were painted a deep blue and the ceiling rafters are now hidden behind a facade of white pillars and ceiling baffles that diffuse direct sunlight from new skylights. The simple white forms provide a more vertical feeling and create an interlayer of space to give a sense of mystery.  New skylights were added to bring in natural light and enhance the religious experience.  As one parishioner put it, “It finally looks and feels like a church.”

Awards & Publications

2007
Merit Award for Religious Architecture, Liturgical/Interior Design, Faith & Form/IFRAA

“The designers have transformed the interior of a pre-engineered building into something spiritual and uplifting. With a minimal budget they accomplished something that is not predictable. The interior has wonderful scale and provides a dramatic setting for worship.”
– Faith and Form Religious Architecture Award Jury