D a n i e l R u a r k , A r c h i t e c t
Architecture and Planning
The Parish Church/Shrine
for Our Lady of Guadalupe
This design represents my efforts in an international competition sponsored by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana. A fairly specific program of need and topographic survey of the site was provided to all entrants.
The house of the Church is expressed as a humble, spiritual shelter designed to serve and further the parish community in their relationship with each other, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and their personal/communal communication with God. The building forms an environment for which individuals may seek prayerful refuge, a place to draw personal strength and courage, and for joining the community in worship and meditation.
The parish facility is designed as a complex of buildings formed, ordered and arranged in a manner imparting visual emphasis to its most sacred purpose through the more secular functions. Rather than a single, isolated building, the parish facility is a connected assemblage of related forms and activities. Different functions, different needs and different design constraints may logically be resolved in different buildings. As a result, the complex can be constructed gradually in phases as funding allows.
The architectural character of the parish facility is simple and dignified, visually emphasizing the religious aspect while in harmony with its existing surroundings. It is appropriately scaled to natural human proportions in order to develop a comfortable, inviting and familiar environment. A primary, natural material palette of stone and wood imbue the building with a tangible, elemental warmth, grounded quality serving to connect the complex with people and place. Building interiors are meditative and quiet, shaped to appeal to the senses, utilizing space, light and shadow, color, and texture in an effort to create a positive emotional response with the community of faith.
The parish facility employs direct, straight-forward use of materials and expressed structural system. The materials represented in the design are appropriate to and indigenous of the region. The state of Indiana is fortunate to possess an abundant source of limestone which has served good purpose in the construction of great churches, schools, monuments and other buildings across the country. The material conveys a sense of proper strength, dignity and durability. Submitted drawings for Our Lady of Guadalupe represent the employment of a significant quantity of stone construction, primarily in exterior bearing walls and masonry masses; flagstone utilized for exterior paving.
The majority of interior spaces employ exposed glued laminated timber in the framing construction of the roof structure. Ceilings are structural wood decking, wire-brushed texture and left unpainted in order to appreciate the material’s natural beauty. Structural timber construction employed to create strong, dramatic vaulted spaces possess an aesthetic appeal and warmth that is unchallenged. The roof structure is insulated upon the exterior, sheathed with water-resistant membrane and finished with wood shingles.
Other spaces, such as the Parish Dining Hall, utilize truss-type structural systems for roof framing. Their open quality, pattern and rhythmic placement can lend a decorative quality to an otherwise functional space.
The complex employs radiant floor heating primarily with support of forced-air handling systems, where necessary. Heating and cooling systems are flexibly zoned according to building use and construction phasing, allowing parts of the complex to be conditioned when occupied. The physical plant is located in the basement with some rooftop-mounted fan units where thought advantageous. The equipment is typically recessed into roof wells and architecturally screened from the public’s view. Electrical service may be augmented by use of solar photovoltaic panel units integrated into the roofing of south and west facing structures, particularly the dining hall and classrooms.