St. Xavier Undercroft
St. Xavier Church, a registered historic landmark, was completed in 1861 and rebuilt after a fire in 1882. The building supports a thriving Jesuit parish that housed its offices and small gathering spaces in a below-grade undercroft space dominated by large plaster-clad piers supporting the sanctuary above.
The parish center program called for a large, flexible, open space that could accommodate both large and small gatherings, five church offices, two classrooms, a library and warming kitchen. A new accessible entrance should provide access to the undercroft and the sanctuary’s existing small side-door.
The design restores blocked-in window and door openings to a new courtyard. The north pavilion provides a welcoming entrance, a new interior stair, and an elevator tower clad in the church’s same sandstone. The south pavilion connects the undercroft with church parking and the sacristy upstairs. Interior glazed sliding panels subdivide one large gathering space into numerous smaller spaces.
Reflecting Francis Xavier’s travels to the Far East is the use of teak, bamboo and cherry. Reflecting Jesuit teachings on authenticity and stewardship, the design exposes the building’s original bell-tower foundation, exterior wall construction and twelve piers, each showing their own personality. Salvaged timber beams were repurposed to clad the reception desk and to create a cross. Exposed timber beams and floor joists reveal the scars of the 1882 fire.