Faith and form have been beautifully interpreted in the new St. Andrew Antiochian Church in Riverside, Calif. The massive new structure was inspired by the ancient churches of Greece, Syria, Lebanon, Romania and Serbia, countries from where many of its current congregants lived as children.
The St. Andrew Church building consists of seven distinct light-filled domes, which symbolize heaven and eternity. The project scope calls for 74 arches, 14 barrel vaults, 16 groin vaults and eight inverted convex ceiling domes, with a soaring central dome. With so many curving surfaces, Southern California-based Hillcrest Framing, the project’s framing and drywall contractors, report that knew they had to turn to a technology-based solution. Radius Track Corporation (RTC), a provider of curved light gauge steel applications, was brought in based on the company’s reputation for creating curved light gauge steel framing systems and advanced use of BIM technology.
“In churches of this style, traditional forms inspired by earlier days, one of the great challenges is to devise economical ways to frame the features,” says George Mears, president of Hillcrest Framing. For this project, Radius Track used its Curved Right solution of pre-bending cold-formed steel studs and track. The framing pieces were custom curved to order at Radius Track’s off-site shop setting for precise, controlled, and predictable results. The framing pieces were then shipped to the job site for streamlined installation.
“The use of Radius Track’s pre-curved system shaved off seven full weeks of labor,” adds Mears. “Had we hand-formed the framing members on site, the framing would have taken us 10 weeks. Instead, we essentially pre-built the entire framing system on Rhino and worked through every issue before hand. Radius Track delivered our framing members on time, and the project went up in three weeks—and just as quickly and precisely as we had planned.”
The artistry of Radius Track and Hillcrest’s work was also put to an unusual standard. When the drywall was complete, the Church brought in four monks from Colorado, who spent weeks hand painting murals (called icons) on the freshly dry walled surfaces. The monks also brought hand-painted canvases that were installed seamlessly with the new painted images. “The monks appreciated the extremely smooth surfaces because it made creating their paintings much easier,” says Mears. “Radius Track was an important part in helping us complete this project on time and on budget. Most importantly, the congregation loves its new house of worship.”