St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church & School
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Houma, Louisiana lost its historic heavy timber building to a devastating fire in November of 2010. The church was constructed in the 19th century of cypress and contained an impressive collection of stained glass valued in excess of $1,000,000. Along with the church, portions of the school were also damaged beyond repair.
The church building committee conducted an extensive review and evaluation process in selecting an architectural firm to design the structures that would replace the original buildings. Broadmoor Design Group/Blitch Knevel Architects – A Joint Venture was selected to provide complete design services for these new structures located in historic downtown Houma.
This 25,000 square foot project is comprised of three highly interconnected structures – the church, the parish hall, and the school building. Intimate gardens are planned to occupy the spaces between the buildings and provide outdoor areas for prayer and other activities. Per the building committee’s instructions, the church and parish hall are designed to emulate the original structures as closely as possible. The exteriors are clad in fiber cement siding and the detailing is in a simplified gothic revival style. The interior of the church will be very similar to the original, and the original stained glass windows have been replicated.
The new, 2-story school structure is to be clad in brick veneer and designed in a style to coordinate with the other buildings on the site. Although the aesthetic of the project has its roots in the past, the buildings will be as technologically advanced as funding will allow. The new structures will be framed of steel and be fully protected by a sprinkler system. A chilled water HVAC system is planned to serve the varying thermal loading conditions found in the facility. Under floor HVAC distribution will be used in the church to provide maximum comfort while minimizing mechanical noise and eliminating the need for ductwork overhead. The electrical and lighting systems are designed to be highly efficient and flexible. Security, fire alarm, and public address systems are also planned as well as internet distribution and wireless internet. Upon completion, the new St. Matthew’s Church will seamlessly combine the best of the 19th and 21st centuries.
The video below shows construction progress as of December 2014.