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  St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Page 30St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church
Kluger Kollin Architects, Inc.
111 W. Ocean Blvd., #1050, Long Beach, CA 90802

Hawaiian Gardens, California
Total Square Feet: 16,423
Construction Period: Apr 1999 to Aug 2000

Construction Team
General Contractor: George C. Hopkins - 919 West Glenoaks, Glendale, CA 91202
Structural Engineer: Ken Okamoto & Associates - 14081 Yorba Street, #105, Tustin, CA 92780
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: MA Francis & Assoc. - 2111 Business Center Dr., #220, Irvin, CA 92612
Landscape Architect: Don Cantacessi - 22 Sordonne, Leguna Niguel, CA 92677

The parish of St. Peter Chanel is located in a culturally enriched neighborhood within an economically impoverished area of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. The design for St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church was conceived from the diversity of its parishioners, which includes persons of Philipino, Latino, Afro-American and Caucasian dissent. This parish required a place of worship which respected all ethnicities and cultural diversities, with an emphasis on a conservative Catholic doctrine.

The design process on this project was unique in that a parishioner of the church, a local architect, began the design process and saw it through construction along with the architect of record. This church truly is born of the people who will use it. This mix between an otherwise foreign entity (the architecture firm), and the architect-parishioner, facilitated communication between the church and the church builders.

The cultural diversity of the parish prompted a contemporary design approach that would satisfy the limited budget of the parish while providing the liturgical settings and design elements intrinsic to a Catholic church. Several specific design issues, which relate to this parish, provide insight to its cultural diversity. St. Peter Chanel is directly centered on Juan Street, which provides visible axis to the church from Carson Road, a major roadway. As it was important that the new church reach out to its diverse community, location on the site was very important. The placement of the church on axis with Juan Street allows it to dominate this view corridor from a nearby highly trafficked commercial road. In addition, a plaza in front of the church was very important as a design requirement. Intended as a 
gathering area where families and community members can congregate and enjoy ethnic foods, the plaza will effectively connect the church to the community.

The 1,000 seat church building is approximately centered on its 5.4 acre site with parking to the rear and sides. The use of natural light, architectural elements and acoustics dominate the interior design. This serene and elegant approach is intended to provide the background environment for the process of prayer. Design concepts such as a high vertical element, visibility to the tabernacle, and separation of the tabernacle from the alter during Mass, and the use of natural light assist in reinforcing the liturgical design. The design team, after some discussions with the Archdiocese, was able to locate the tabernacle directly behind the altar. Ornate etched glass doors obscure the Tabernacle during services, but allow it to be showcased at other times.

The font, in itself, is an interesting design element. The font location deserved a setting that would warrant its respectful position within the church. Centered on direct axis to the altar at the entrance to the Assembly Room, the font is separated from the Gathering Room to provide the necessary protection from playful children. The hemispherical font was pre-cast and hand tiled with marble. Water, pumped by 
an automatic control system, trickles down the bowl into a cross-shaped basin. This design lends itself to the full body submersion baptism required by Vatican II, and abstractly mirrors the cross of Jesus at the other end of the church.

Strategically soft colors have been used throughout the church to provide a subtle background to the main purpose of the building -- religious prayer. The utilization of simple shapes, forms and natural light assisted in maintaining the minimal budget. 

Exterior Walls -- Special Doors: Forms + Surfaces; Glazing/Mullion: Arcadia Architectural Products.
Roof -- Manufactured: IMSA Building Products; Membrane: GAF; Skylights: Inter-Sky Skylights.
Interior Walls -- Gypsum Board: United States Gypsum; Toilet Accessories: Bobrick.

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