Saint Camillus Parish

Saint Camillus Parish is located in an affluent and growing neighborhood in the City of New Castle, located 55 miles north of Pittsburgh. The original complex includes a church, social hall, rectory, and gymnasium. Constructed in the 1960s, the buildings were designed in the High Modernist style, resulting in a monolithic and imposing structure. As is consistent with this style of architecture, there is essentially no differentiation in the existing building materials, height, or fenestration, resulting in the inability to distinguish between the sacred and service spaces - the gym looks like the church and the entire complex looks somewhat like a warehouse. Our task was to increase the occupancy of the nave from 500 to 750 while improving the aesthetics and functionality of the church. To increase the seating capacity while reducing the need for additional new construction, we proposed extending the nave into the existing, underutilized gym. An addition was designed creating an expanded and symmetrical nave. Much-needed natural light was introduced into the nave with a continuous skylight extending from the narthex to the altar. Three new entrances were designed with steeply sloped roofs that ameliorate the heavy massing of the original church and create a more human scale to the building. Finally, a bell tower was proposed, centering and grounding the long side elevation as well as marking the church in the larger urban context. The site plan was reconfigured to better respond to the proposed additions.

Owner: Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
Location: New Castle, Pennsylvania

Area: 14,100 sf
Budget: $3.5 Million
Completed: 2009