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Virginia Tech

Two primary ideas drove the design of this church, sited at a Christian camping and retreat center in southwest Pennsylvania. The control of light entering the building is realized through a double layer of screens which form the exterior walls of the building and the walls of the sanctuary inside. These screens are the result of rigorous experimentation to maximize daylight and reduce glare in the space. The second main idea centers around the treatment of the overhead plane. Unified as a screen, curvilinear sheets of fabric are lit by openings in the roof to create sinuous bands of light that define the overhead plane and draw the eye upward. The primary design of these curves continue to define smaller elements in the church.

As a secondary concern, the site links the church to the camp proper. A curving approach dips into the earth to obscure views of the church just until the visitor approaches the final court that leads to the building entrance. It is only when the person enters the sanctuary do they realize how the exterior and interior screens control the sunlight to illuminate a worship space that is flexible enough to both meet the needs of the camp and allow for future evolution of the liturgy.

church, screen, Wood, concrete, Light