17 Mar Finished: Gothic-style Church in Uptown Dallas
From its inception, the Owner, Church of the Incarnation, and their bishop, Bishop Anthony Burton, relayed to the design team that the additions to their existing facilities should seamlessly and gracefully fit with the existing architecture of the facilities and be drawn either from the existing architecture or from other architectural examples from authentic Gothic architecture. The new facilities requested by the Owner included a new three hundred seat Chapel, three levels of Education, and a large Welcome/Gathering space with a new front entry. The overall layout available to the church was a challenge in that the land available was in a long and linear fashion with a street separating the existing contiguous campus with the additional land available for expansion. Closing Cambrick Street offered the opportunity to connect the existing facility with the new, and to provide a celebration of arrival with the new Porte-Cochere. Additional site elements to be considered included existing majestic oak and other hardwood trees that are prevalent along McKinney Avenue. In order to allow for the keeping of these majestic trees, the building was interspersed with courtyards celebrating these trees as a part of outdoor gathering spaces.
The 60,000 square foot addition was designed in accordance with the English Gothic style typical of the middle ages with details inspired from more current versions of English Gothic Architecture already prevalent on the campus. The masonry chosen for the new addition is an intentional match to the existing architecture. As the existing bricks were cleaned, the new bricks interfaced seamlessly. Specialty design details in the brick such as sawtooth and herringbone patterns were inspired from medieval designs in architecture, and the mason took extra care in matching the sixty year old mortar color in the new masonry. In the more public areas of the facility, the interior elements were designed to reflect the stone and masonry details of the exterior including stone arches, stone columns, architectural beams, arches and other details to reflect the Gothic style of the facility.
Unlike traditional stone work seen in the existing campus and in medieval architecture, the cast stone tracery seen in the addition is actually a sandwich element; the interior and exterior faces of the stone and brick are separated by a nested steel support and an extra addition of water proofing membranes. This provides for a more substantial guard against water and moisture intrusion, and it also meets the current building codes requiring additional insulating qualities for contemporary building envelopes – a marriage of medieval architecture and energy code requirements of the twenty first century. The slate roof along with stone and brick masonry installed in accordance with current energy codes provide excellent thermal insulation and noise attenuation from freeway and air traffic so prevalent in the heart of Dallas.