St. Anselm Catholic ChurchMadisonville, Louisiana
A new 800 person church for a site in downtown Madisonville, Louisiana was completed in 2009. Work on the project included a master plan for an entire city block incorporating education facilities, a gathering space and offices for the church clustered around a landscaped courtyard. Located in the maritime community of Madisonville, Louisiana on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, the church was designed as an ark or vessel. Each side of the building has a sloped roof line to resemble the form of a boat. These stucco clad enclosure walls, built of concrete frame with masonry infill, describe a continuous and ascending line against the sky, culminating at the highest point of the building over the altar. The church is composed of two forms, the nave and a service wing which together define an assembly or gathering space and entry foyer.
The ceiling of the nave is shaped in the form of a fish, the symbol for Christ. It is separated from the perimeter walls by a continuous halo of clerestory windows which make the roof appear to float and allow for full use of the church with available daylight. A tall altar screen or reredos with an 8 foot crucifix culminates the axis of the eighty foot long stone center aisle. The custom-designed oak pews are arranged in the form of a fan in order for the congregants to see each other in community in response to the principles of Vatican ii. A stone font and altar were also designed by the firm.
As a counterpoint to the volume of the church, the entry is marked with a tall, free-standing cross tower. The design is intended to be a timeless and welcoming presence in the community: “ever ancient, ever new” in the words of St. Benedict.
Awards2009, Honor Award, South Central Construction
2009, Award of Excellence, Associated Builders and Contractors
2010, Honor Award, AIA Louisiana