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Wisconsin Architect Magazine
Wisconsin Architect E-News Archive: Mosaic March 2009

St. Gabriel Catholic Church

Location: Richfield, Wisconsin
Architect: Groth Design Group
Contractor: Beyer Construction

Saint Garbiel Catholic Church was established by the merging of three parishes. The church and future school are located on a rural 40-acre site. A master plan was established for the entire campus. Major programmatic areas include a new worship space, Eucharistic Chapel, parish center, offices, classrooms, gymnasium, library and kitchen.

Phase I of the campus totals 24,500 square feet, including a worship space to seat 850, reservation chapel, gathering, meeting rooms, offices and a fellowship hall.

The Cathedral volume of the worship space accommodates fan-shaped seating, an immersion font, a full ambulatory with niches for shrines and statuary, the altar platform, ambo, Presider's chair and processional cross. This liturgical journey is brought to an end at the tabernacle. Major beams of the lower roof splay to force the perspective from the ambulatory to the main liturgical volume. The ambulatory provides access to all seating, the altar platform and the reservation chapel.

A soaring central gable accentuates the hierarchy and relationship of the font, altar, cross and tabernacle, while the clerestory elevates the building for added visibility and natural light penetration. The form of the building evokes the European Cathedral.

A pair of highly visible and unshadowed ceremonial doors flank the canopied general entry. The fireplace within reinforces and ambience of hospitality. A second set of ceremonial doors creates a portal from the gathering space to the worship.

The exterior of the building utilizes natural materials, including wood detailing and stone and brick cladding, while the three panels of the spire, representing the three melded parishes, converge at the base of the cross.

Photography: Heffoto, Inc.

Church
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