Richard Turlington Architects Project - First Church of Christ, Scientist

Richard Turlington led the renovation of this circa 1900 building in downtown New Haven CT.  Originally a bank building, it was to be renovated to provide a new home for the Church overlooking the historic town green.  The existing façade was a product of a 1970’s “facelift” and is composed limestone cladding and stucco surround, metal windows and fluted spandrel panels.

Our goal was to repurpose this 15,000 sf bank to accommodate a new 100 person sanctuary, meeting rooms and a new reading room.  For the façade, we simply cleaned it up and painted the original window frames to a copper green color and left the stone façade alone.  The street appearance is quiet but fresh and retained its original stately presence amongst the Chapel Street retails shops and restaurants.

The sanctuary design approach involved a dramatic edit to the existing building.  We removed the back half the second floor of the building while leaving the original structural skeleton.  The result is a large, quiet, two story space that is flooded by high windows that were part of the original second floor offices.  We surrounded the exposed columns and beams with crisp white plaster walls and ceilings.  We painted the perimeter walls white and installed a patterned commercial carpet.  We designed our own pews from cherry that were custom fit to run between the existing columns.  Richard Turlington Architects introduced an indirect lighting scheme that creates an ethereal spatial experience that is appropriate for use as a chapel.   

The new sanctuary is a powerful, peaceful and deeply spiritual space for a wonderful group of people brought together by a deep faith.