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Honoured to Design a Sacred Space

March 22, 2018 - Article
We are honoured to have been mandated to design a new Anglican church in the village of Waskaganish, where we have completed several projects over previous years and to which our ties remain very strong. Situated on the south-east shore of James Bay in the Eeyou Istchee territory, the Cree community of Waskaganish is the oldest Cree village in Quebec. Our projects are always developed with a collaborative approach in mind, focused on process and successful implementation. We bring bold ideas to life through rigorous analysis, state-of-the-art communication and individuals who can think, draw, write, present and most of all enjoy the process from start to finish. We also maintain a real focus on the project economics from day one. We have worked with the Crees of Waskaganish for many years on a variety of successful project types and we know the community well.

Architecture

The design concept that we propose for the building is distinguished by its minimalism, which recalls the function of the space and the spirit and essence of the existing church. Visually, the bell tower is constructed from a fragmentation of the facade, with a volume that would have seemingly slid upward. This arrangement creates a small covered forecourt at the entrance of the building as well as a housing for the church bell in this new overhead structure. The metal exterior finish of the roof and walls shows material continuity, while the main facade and bell tower are clad in wood giving them a warm and inviting appearance.

Outside, the rhythm of the window placement is a nod to the existing building.

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Interior design

The building’s interior is uncluttered, all the while articulating elements that allow for the memory of the existing church. The stained-glass windows of the existing church will be reused and attached to the front of a window that surmounts the altar. The tall narrow windows are intended to bring more light into the building. 

Their position near the corners of the room helps to diffuse more light on the walls and into the interior space, making the atmosphere of the place warmer and more welcoming.