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St. John Vianney Catholic Church

Nestled in West Houston's Memorial neighborhood, St. John Vianney Catholic Church made significant additions and enhancements to the church campus to meet their expanding congregation needs. The compelling design integrates the new and old cohesively, uniting the parish in its mission of "Living Faith, Changing Lives, and Making a Difference."

Nestled in the Memorial neighborhood of Houston, St. John Vianney Catholic Church serves a diverse parish united by a mission of “Living Faith, Changing Lives, and Making a Difference.” To meet the expanding needs of the congregation, and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the parish's founding, a capital campaign entitled “Continuing the Vision” was launched. Its goal was to enable significant additions and enhancements to the church campus.  In many ways, the project was envisioned as a completion of the worship spaces which had been constructed in two prior phases, the last completed about two decades ago. Liturgical art was substantially changed and increased, and a unifying palette of materials and colors was carried through the chapel (which was the original church, dating from 1968) as well as the more recent large main church and connecting narthex. Most noticeable, all of the spaces were joined together by means of a connecting arcade and plaza, capped by a 12-story high bell tower.  The sanctuary platform in the main worship space, crowned by a new tabernacle and artwork, was expanded in all directions to create an optical focus. New flooring and ceiling materials were introduced, and the walls were refurbished to create opportunities for additional artwork. The space in the adjacent chapel, the original parish church, was upgraded by using integrated, refined, and warm materials. Providing a proper transition between these two spaces, an expanded narthex opened up visual and physical access leading into both the church and the chapel. Building on the prior phase's concept of "light and layers," a sense of arrival was created with an abundance of natural light pouring in through skylights, enveloping the space to welcome parishioners and guests. Uniting all three spaces is the liturgical artwork, stone walls, mural artwork, and especially the ribbon of colorful and ornate Italian floor tiles.  The exterior plaza, focused on a statue of the Sacred Heart, further extends the transition to the narthex and provides an exterior gathering space. Surrounded by a covered masonry arcade, the intent of this space is to slow down parishioners as they approach the church, facilitating reflection and allowing them to center themselves prior to worship. On a functional level, parking was reorganized and expanded to better define pedestrian flow into the plaza, to improve vehicular access, and to balance parking spaces to the remainder of the campus.  Serving as the architectural landmark of the entire campus, the 130-foot tall bell tower can be seen from nearby major thoroughfares, and from the high-rise office structures in west Houston's "Energy Corridor." Cast in 1907, the bells were reclaimed from St. George's Parish in Shenandoah, PA, the first Lithuanian Catholic Church in the United States, and their weights range from 300 to 3100 pounds. The brick blend found on the bell tower was created specifically to merge the aesthetics of the campus additions with the existing structures, integrating the new and the old cohesively.

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