Baton Rouge's local 225 Magazine showcased GraceHebert's Rose Award Winning Design- St. Jude Catholic Church Renovation project.
The design team create a worship space that maintains the integrity of the existing structure while introducing a contemporary architectural vocabulary.
September 30, 2014
In his first few years as pastor of St. Jude the Apostle Church, Father Trey Nelson often heard the same complaint from parishioners: It's too dark in here. “They'd say it was 'cave-like,'” he recalls.
The congregation had also outgrown its space off Highland Road at Gardere, so a brighter and larger worship venue was in order. Enter GraceHebert Architects, who brightened and increased capacity at St. Jude last year while also making it the most high-tech Catholic church in the city.
“We're the only one with video projection,” Nelson says. “Which is great for weddings.”
Besides more seating and better lighting, Nelson's chief concern was to make the church feel contemporary. “There's a 25-foot art glass behind the crucifix, but I told the architects I didn't want it backlit, because that would be way too '70s. So they increased the natural light; they literally raised the roof.”
These numbers relate to the picture above: 1. Naturally textured flooring. The tiled floor in a muted color palette complements the classic wood pews to help create a serene and peaceful environment. 2. Original stained glass. Twenty-two of St. Jude's original stained glass windows remain in the renovated church. New, larger stained glass pieces were relocated to the east and west transepts to take advantage of the morning and evening sunlight. 3. Translucent gable. This large translucent piece floods the space with natural light. 4. Art glass. This provides a striking background to the crucifix and draws visitors' eyes to the cross. 5. Cypress altar. This custom designed altar is hand-carved out of sinker cypress. Its simple, organic form conveys humility. 6. Baptismal font. Located at the entry of the nave, the font reminds Christians entering the church of their spiritual journey through the waters of baptism. Its round shape allows for a circle of celebration around the newly baptized.