Sparano+Mooney: Church

The American firm designs a place of worship for a community in Utah, using ordinary materials in an unusual way.

American architecture studio Sparano+Mooney Architecture have recently completed an a sanctuary space for 800 people, in West Jordan, Utah. The project features accessory support, liturgical, and vesting spaces, administrative offices and a conference space, alongside a separate day chapel building for daily mass, and a circular courtyard with a central water and fire feature.

The project is located in a working class neighbourhood near the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, the deepest open pit mine in the world, and major employer in the area. A modest church, now demolished, was built in 1965, and the design of the new church re-uses fundamental elements of the old structure, incorporating new steel, copper and hand-crafted wood components to reference the parish’s mining and construction history.
Top and above: Sparano + Mooney Architecture, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, West Jordan, Utah 2013
Materials used include textural walls of board-formed concrete — constructed in the traditional method of stacking rough sawn lumber —, a rainscreen of clear milled cedar, vertical grain fir boards and timbers used to create the altar and interior of the Day Chapel, and flat seam copper panels for the Day Chapel's  cladding and skylight structure over the altar.

Some glazing components required a highly crafted assembly of laminated glazing with color inter-layers, acid etched glazing, and clear glass insulated units with mullion-less corners. The architects sought to use ordinary materials in ways that would have them "become extraordinary".
Sparano + Mooney Architecture, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, West Jordan, Utah 2013
The sanctuary's geometry is composed of two offset ellipses. The outer ellipse contains the liturgical chapels and niches, while the inner ellipse completes the main sanctuary space. These give the sense that the outer walls of the sanctuary are thickened. The depth of the walls is visible through a series of coloured apertures that extend through the thickened wall. The space changes throughout the day with the colour of the apertures growing more intense when highlighted by the sun.
Sparano + Mooney Architecture, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, West Jordan, Utah 2013
Sparano+Mooney: St. Joseph Catholic Church
Location:
West Jordan, Utah, USA
Architects:
Sparano+Mooney Architecture
Client:
St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, West Jordan, Utah
Destination:
Place of worship with administrative offices and day chapel
Area:
7,000 square metres
Sparano + Mooney Architecture, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, West Jordan, Utah 2013

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