About our Firm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
St. Mark's Lutheran Church is a
congregation in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois. The existing
sanctuary, in lieu of traditional stained glass, has large windows that face
enclosed gardens, and this connection to nature forms an important component
of the congregation's spiritual life. However, the rapidly-growing
congregation found itself constrained by their existing facilities, and
commissioned a design for an addition and expansion of the space. The
project's goals included:
An expanded worship space to accommodate the congregation's
existing and projected membership, while maintaining an intimate seating
configuration and visual connection to the outdoors.
Expansion of the Fellowship Hall to provide additional
capacity for banquets and events, and to make it a more spacious and
To provide an inviting space that is welcoming to
newcomers and provides opportunities for informal gatherings before and
after worship services.
In response to these challenges, a concept was developed for a new worship space that:
Responds to the geometry and materials of the existing
facilities, in matching the earth-toned brick and angular geometry to
provide a seamless integration between the old and new spaces.
Provides for ample natural daylight and visual
connections to the outdoors in the form of large
clerestory windows, a tall prism-like window behind the altar, and a rose
window at the southeast end of the nave.
Respects the congregation's customary liturgical and
musical life, and allows for a wide degree of flexibility.
The new sanctuary features an octagonal seating plan,
which increases seating capacity without sacrificing the intimate feeling of
the existing space. Extensive use of glass, including a tall prism-shaped
window behind the altar and large clerestory windows flanking the main aisle
insure that a strong connection to the outdoors is maintained. The
orientation of the sanctuary provides views to landscaped areas of the
church grounds while avoiding glare inside the space.
The fellowship hall and kitchen in
the basement of the existing sanctuary are relocated upstairs into the former
sanctuary space, creating a spacious and light-filled fellowship hall that
retains the views to the enclosed gardens, and is more fully integrated with
the rest of the building both visually and functionally. A new, spacious narthex replaces the cramped narthex of the
existing facility, opens to an internal courtyard that had formerly been
inaccessible, and provides a gracious space for greeting newcomers and
gatherings before and after worship services. Through the generous use of
daylight and nature throughout the project, the design strongly reflects the
Lutherans' belief that sunlight serves to illuminate God's glory, truth, and
||Existing site plan
||Proposed site plan
||Proposed floor plan
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