St. Benedict Roman Catholic Parish
In our initial discussions with the parish, the desire to recreate some of the decorative aspects of the church’s interior that had been removed as part of previous renovations was expressed. Along with architectural lighting, new pews to match the originals, and two new reconciliation rooms that would be in keeping with the existing architectural vocabulary, we were asked to provide options for a decorative painting scheme and the design for new flooring throughout the nave and sanctuary. Options for both were presented, with the parish making their final selection of a program shortly thereafter.
The architectural vocabulary of the church can be described as an Edwardian Era interpretation of a Lombard Romanesque basilica. Stylistic references to historical structures of the Italian region of Lombardy are present both in and outside of the church. With the photographic documentation of the original decorative painting scheme, a Late-Victorian/Edwardian sensibility and taste can be seen in both the decorative patterns and their application. We endeavored to draw upon the existing characteristics of the building for direction and inspiration. We wished not to simply recreate that which once existed but to create a new interior design program that would be a unified combination of both old and new, stylistically appropriate to the space.
The decorative treatment of both walls and ceiling utilize patterns that are meant to outline and enhance their architectural counterparts. Like authentic interiors of the Lombard Romanesque Period, the flat wall surface is treated with two-dimensional patterns that continue the architectural form. This is a practice that Medieval Italy inherited from Ancient Rome. A close study of the existing colors already within the church led to the choice of a color palette of rich burgundies, soft creams, pale blues, and subtle golds. In the recessed areas of wall space behind the high altar and the side shrines, it was deemed appropriate to reintroduce a multi-stenciled applique pattern authentic to the Late-Victorian Era. The richness of this pattern and its colors is highlighted by the deliberate restraint of decorative patterns in other areas.
Design & Implementation Team
MPSB Architectural Design Studio
Jerome Durr Studio
New Holland Architectural