Our re-design of the Narthex at the Grace Anglican in Waterdown is striking in its simplicity. The beautiful design creates a modern, interactive entrance to the church, increases the available functional space and creates a welcoming, accessible environment for its parishioners. Our objective – design a Narthex and entry point into the church that embodied its welcoming, open and inspirational approach and addressed its space and accessibility challenges.
We started by mirroring the materiality of the new addition in the use of heavy stone block. We then separated the new addition from the original church, creating a physical and material separation between new and old with an annex we nicknamed the link. The glazed link separates the addition from the original church and exposes the original west wall of the church. It creates the opportunity to experience the previously covered west wall of the church, at the same time as the Narthex addition.
The Narthex addition will become the main and accessible entrance to the church; small worship space; an area for gathering; or a place to sit and reflect. Integrated millwork creates storage for various programs as well as allowing room for a small hidden kitchenette. The use of vaulted tongue and groove cedar ceilings framed with heavy timber, quality materials and thoughtful detailing creates an inspiring and uplifting entrance and contemplative environment. The west wall of the Narthex is glazed and opens onto the cemetery – a landmark in the community.
We incorporated vertical fins and an overhang into the design to control light and block the sun on the west face during the summer. A steep, metal pitched roof and integrated drainage and drain chain, will catch storm water to be funneled for use in the church’s gardens. We paid special attention to the building envelop and mechanical systems, reinforcing the additions sustainability for the long term.
Grace Anglican is a faith community for people from all backgrounds & walks of life. To learn more or support Grace as it fundraises to build this important addition, click here.