Design inspiration takes its first lead from the client. We ascertain the specific needs and wants of the client through programming, and then delve deeper into their stories – like how they first started, and the landmarks and milestones they have achieved along the way. We want to understand what drives them and what kind of image they want to project to the community that they serve.
The better the connection between the architect and client, the better the connection will be between the final built design and the community. Design is inspired when it tells a particular story and becomes the pure expression of what the client wants to achieve.
Churches have an expectation of being filled with symbolism and art that can both inspire and empower the faithful by making the invisible visible. Here we look at some of our architecture that incorporates sacred art and artifacts to help connect with a specific mission and helps inspire the faithful whom we serve.
The Religious Order of priests serving Mary Queen Catholic church in Friendswood, Texas are Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, so the church has a deep connection with that Order and the church in La Salette, France.
To tell the story and support the connection between the two churches, we created the form of the new church to reflect certain aspects of the church in La Salette, France.
In 1846, a “Beautiful Lady” appeared to two children who were watching their herds on the slope of Mont Plateau in the French Alps and delivered a message to them. She told the children to “Make this message known to all my people.” The two children recounted that “Along the hem of her shawl, she wore a broad flat chain and from a smaller chain around her neck hung a crucifix. Beneath the arms of the cross were, to the left of the figure of Christ, a hammer, and to the right, pincers.” On the spot where Mary had appeared, Priests of La Salette built a church in her honor.
The symbol of the Order was incorporated into the floor of the sanctuary. The hammer symbolizing the instrument that drove in the nails that crucified Christ, and the pincer symbolizing the instrument that removed them.
Strengthening the connection between the church and the local community, artists from the Illinois studio Murals by Jericho painted the Sermon on the Mount on the back wall of the sanctuary using the church parishioners as models for the mural.
Stephanie earned her bachelor of environmental design at Texas A&M University and has more than 20 years of experience working on a wide range of building types such as community and public, education, religious, and residential. She joined the firm in 2015, following the merger of Hall Barnum Lucchesi Architects (HBL) with the Worship and Education Studio of Ziegler Cooper Architects.