The spiritual endeavor that is church is more than just the service (or mass) itself. It is a community of people seeking higher purpose. And to that end a community must be nurtured and grown, and architecture has a profound role to play in the tending. Our Lady of the Lake has come to us with a list of issues that are essentially impediments to community building. Impeded pathways on the campus abound, chiefly the external 4 foot wide stairway-in-a-tube that connects the church and social hall resulting in terrible bottle-necking during the post-mass egress. The social hall itself, besides being hemmed in by a bulky elevator shaft, is awkwardly arranged with a teeny kitchen and inconvenient storage. Like so many long standing churches, years of piecemeal additions and alterations have left the circulation and connectivity of the church and campus in something of a jumble.
So we’ll start by removing the poorly sited elevator and inefficient stairs. In their stead we have a green-roofed, glass enclosed hallway that will run the length of the building along the lower hall level. Large entry doors will welcome parishioners in from the parking lot (as well as open the east face to the parish center and school) and act as foyer to the social hall below while gently guiding visitors to a grand stair leading to the narthex. In the sanctuary we’ll shrink the oversized altar to more elegantly seat the congregation and also allow for new stairs to the rear balcony. We’ll add an adoration chapel built into the site’s natural hillside and make other minor adjustments that all together aim to reopen the church and campus unto itself and encourage the sort of community that rounds out the meaning of church.
Our Lady of the Lake Church
Lake Oswego, Oregon
civil | structural
mechanical | electrical