The new St. Clare Catholic Church in O’Fallon, Ill., was created to provide a feeling of “timelessness” through a connection to Assisi, Italy and St. Clare’s history, all while providing a contemporary building and achieving design performance standards. This facility is the first in a multi-phase master plan, so its form, proportions, materials, patterns, textures and design elements will set the tone for all future parish facilities.
The church creates a strong visual impact using a combination of rock-faced and smooth CMU veneers, precast concrete arches and lintels, aluminum windows, and heavy-laminated, terra-cotta-colored asphalt shingles. The building also features a large entry portal, designed to accommodate large liturgical processions, and 13-foot-tall, unique mahogany doors.
Masonry and precast concrete details carry into the church interior, which is filled with natural light from clerestory windows that highlight the space”s exposed glulam structure and decking. The polished concrete floor of the church complements the stained wood pews and stone tile details in the sanctuary. The high central ceiling above the Sanctuary is painted blue as a reflection of historical Catholic churches in Europe, with dimmable custom pendant lighting that was designed to up-light the structure and blue ceiling while giving the sense of individually lit candles.
The design team was able to create a column-free structural system that allows for favorable sightlines from any pew, superior acoustical design for music and the spoken word, as well as a “tomb”-shaped Baptistery that can accommodate full-immersion baptisms. This religious facility provides classical reverent space, while showcasing an innovative application of the Tilt-Up method. At the north end of the building, the use of 10-foot wide panels, which were stitched together and field cut to create a 16-foot wide opening, replaced the originally called for 20-foot wide panels.
The overall look was still achieved, but with less equipment constraints. By substituting steel braced frames with concrete Tilt-Up walls, the contractor was able to save money and eliminate the need for 70-foot scaffolding during construction. Despite structural and architectural challenges, this project delivered for the needs of the client as well as the community.
O'Fallon, IL 62269
TILT-UP TODAY MAGAZINE / PROJECTS IN THE NEWS