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  St. Peter's Catholic Community, SanctuarySt. Peter's Catholic Community, Sanctuary


Lord Architecture, Inc.
11650 Iberia Place, #210, San Diego, CA 92128

General Description

Location: Fallbrook, California
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.

Construction Team

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.  

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