Thursday, November 29, 2012

Architecture of Religion: St. David's United

A sort of companion building to Redeemer Lutheran Church, St. David's United in West Vancouver was completed a year earlier (in 1958) but anticipates the design of the later Massey Medal nominee.

St. David's is a larger, more refined building. However the general design program is the same and was to become fairly standard for churches in the city: an A-frame structure, supported by ascending glulam beams that buttress concrete base walls. The result is a vast, open area of worship.

A central skylight runs the length of the nave, admitting light that filters down the wood decking. Stained glass windows line the exterior walls. There is an absence of elaborate ornamentation that is consistent with other religious structures of the time and the modernist ethos. 

As with Redeemer, the chapel is offset by low-slung post and beam service areas that house offices, meeting rooms and administration. An interior garden area acts as a nice counterpoint to the shifting structure and spaces of an open stairwell. 

After 50-plus years, the landscaping is fully mature and the church is enveloped in a border of green that buffers it from the adjacent busy roads and highway.

St. David's was designed by G.W. Peck and Thompson, Berwick and Pratt.


John Brian Shannon said...

Your blogs are always quite good, but I have to say the photography on this one is striking.

Having visited St. David's in younger years, it was great to see it looking it's best.

Really a great blog.

(I still think 'all that concrete' needs to be covered with terra cotta tile and grout, but that is a different story)

Cheers! JBS

CM McLellan said...

Thanks so much John! Glad you enjoyed the post.

John Peck said...

Nice review. My dad George, who designed this church, worked for TB@P. I remember attending the cornerstone ceremony when I was six. We lived in a house my dad designed at 409 Eastcot, just around the corner. John Peck, Toronto