St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Austin, Texas
Recipient Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture - National Design Award
This parish church was designed for a rapidly growing, existing community, which had occupied multipurpose facilities on the site, and is located across a plaza from the original building. The plan clearly expresses the main worship space seating 900 and the daily chapel which seats 50, and both are easily identified as you approach the site. Though large, the church maintains an intimacy and warmth expressive of the affection and concern the community has for one another.
The octagonal pyramid of the main sanctuary roof, rising from a low masonry wall, is skewed to locate the oculus directly over the altar and is supported by columns and branching struts, which call to mind the tent of God's journeying people. At the daily chapel, high masonry walls change from a square plan to an octagon, and the space is lit, in contrast to the main sanctuary, from the corner apses formed by the transition.
The building is an active element in the liturgy, gathering and sheltering the community. Time-honored materials, masonry, wood and copper, are used throughout with directness of means and clear purpose in keeping with the integrity of the materials. The liturgical furnishings were designed especially for St. Catherine's by the architects.