St. Peter's Catholic Community, Sanctuary
Lord Architecture, Inc.
11650 Iberia Place, #210, San Diego, CA 92128
Date Bid: Nov 2007
Construction Period: Feb 2008 to May 2009
Total Square Feet: 20,764 Site: 10 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 20,764; total, 20,764 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 40’; tower, 48’; total, 48’.
Basic Construction Type: New/Type V1 hour with
automatic sprinklers. Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced,
slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: Wood & steel frame. Roof:
Built up, clay tile.
Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall.
General Contractor: Roel Construction Co. - 3366 Kurtz Street,
San Diego, CA 92110
Mechanical Engineer: Merrick & Associates - 9606 Tierra Grande
Street, #206, San Diego, CA 92126
Electrical Engineer: Kruse & Associates - 12245 World Trade
Drive, #A, San Diego, CA 92128
Acoustics: Acoustic Dimensions - 1935 North Marshall Ave., El
Cajon, CA 92020
Located in a beautiful rural community north of San Diego, the parish of
St. Peter's has completed a new sanctuary that was in various phases of
planning, debate, and sacrifice for over 15 years. The results made the
enormous effort worth it.
Under the direction of the parish building committee, the overall design
approach was established to recognize the planning and architectural
heritage of the California Missions and employ some of the same
vocabulary of those early missions in the new project, including a
simple and honest approach to the environment. The design effort
resulted in a fundamental emotional linkage with the old missions
without repeating superficial details or applying visual tricks that
would not be very respectful of the genuine article. Even though the new
sanctuary is much larger than a typical mission, the interior space
recalls the sense of community, warmth, and shelter of its predecessors.
The best of the California Missions have a palpable sense of simplicity
and elegance that makes each physical form and decorative element count
for something. They also have comfortable courtyards where the faithful
can gather and separate themselves from the secular world. Similarly, a
large plaza at St. Peter's, enhanced by two water features donated by
members, separates the congregation from parking lots and traffic,
creating an atmosphere of calm before entering the sanctuary.
A strong emphasis was put on welcoming the people through large and
solid entry doors that are opened wide at the base of a tower, which
holds a 1,200 pound bronze bell cast in France a century ago. Finally,
as in each of the old mission sanctuaries, one will find behind the
altar a striking wall of gilded and carved figures, called a retablo. At
St. Peter's, the retablo has been replaced with a contemporary and
dramatic stained glass installation that serves the same purpose of
focusing attention on the altar and gives a reverent significance to the
liturgical celebrations inside. Ultimately, the design goal succeeds by
using simple composition of forms, materials, colors, and light to focus
and deepen the personal and community worship experience.
Just as the parish and the design team paid respect to the California
Mission tradition, the general contractor treated the project with equal
respect for its referenced history and acknowledged that this was a
project for many generations to enjoy. Building a sanctuary arguably
requires a greater attention to finish and detail than typical
commercial structures. While keeping a well-trained eye on the bottom
line, each aspect of the large site and the building was given special
personal attention by the construction team. The project was delivered
under a guaranteed maximum contract, on-time, and under budget.