This project for an ecumenical school and church stages a pageant of architectural metaphors on a generic Houston lot, in service of creating a place for a multi-generational, non-sectarian community. All spaces in and outside the building are available for religious, educational, and social uses, which are organized temporally, not territorially.
The site is treated with the gravity of an archeological precinct carved out of the surrounding scrub. Three sphinx-like temple forms of white-washed concrete on brick plinths serve multiple programs: the largest as classrooms, auditorium, and basilica; the medium as cafeteria, parish hall, and ceremonial space; and the smallest as library reading room and chapel. The last points especially to the Christian church’s (often fraught) historical status as an agent of learning, and suggests a potential interweaving of faith and awareness in daily life.
The temple forms are connected with a rhetorically mechanical service bar clad in KalWall, in which is suspended a second level designed as enormous, habitable ducting. Drivers enter the site through a perimeter berm, are presented with an impressive view of the temples across the sunken playing fields, and circle to the rear of the building to park. The entry face is designed as the back of a stage set, challenging all the constituencies that enter the building with a note of ambiguity.