St. Mary Church Renovation
St. Mary Parish wanted a more welcoming, useful church undercroft with direct exterior access and improved circulation between church and expanded school, including ADA accessibility.
A new, sunken courtyard is the focal point and organizing element of the parish’s small, urban site. It provides circulation between church and school as well as accessibility to both from the parking area. It creates a direct, light-filled connection between the undercroft and site.
A new stair and elevator tower link the narthex and undercroft. To avoid compromising the bilateral symmetry of the church, the addition sits away from the church and is connected via a glass-enclosed bridge. To avoid obscuring the stained-glass windows of the sanctuary, the stair is enclosed in glass and its support reduced to a single, vertical slab. Walls of the elevator tower incorporate stone reclaimed from the church, providing texture and tying old and new together.
This project received both AIA Ohio and AIA Cincinnati Design Awards.