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  Episcopal Church of the NativityEpiscopal Church of the Nativity


Barduson Architects
3702 E. Kachina Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85044

General Description

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Date Bid: Apr 2012 Construction Period: May 2012 to Dec 2012
Total Square Feet: 18,288 Site: .89 acre.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Sizes: First floor, 12,077; second floor, 6,211 (shell);
total, 18,288 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 13’; second floor, 13’; floor to floor, 13’; total, 40’ max.
Basic Construction Type: Adaptive Reuse.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade, CMU stem walls. Exterior Walls: CMU, curtain wall, storefront glazing. Roof: Foam insulated. Floors: Concrete, B deck/concrete over steel joists. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

Project Team

Structural Engineer: Caruso, Turley, Scott, Inc. - 1215 W. Rio Salado Parkway, #200, Tempe, AZ 85281
General Contractor: Redden Construction, Inc. - 4131 E. Wood Street, Phoenix, AZ 85040
Mechanical Engineer: Engineering Resource Group - 1615 E. Warner Road, #1, Tempe, AZ 85284
Electrical Engineer: Systems Design Engineering, Inc. - 3322 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85282
Acoustical Engineer: Tony Sola/Acoustical Consulting Services - P.O. Box 41182, Mesa, AZ 85274
Civil Engineer: Erie & Associates, Inc. - 3120 N. 24th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Church of the Nativity (COTN) was founded six years ago and had moved from an elementary school to the first floor of an office building. However, the leadership team knew the church needed a permanent home. Due to the economic collapse of the region, COTN was able to purchase a partially completed two-story office building in an upscale north Scottsdale location. Originally designed as a six building office condominium campus, the site had been abandoned three years earlier due to foreclosure and had become an eyesore for the surrounding neighborhood.

As the church and architect first walked on the site, they were overcome by the impression that the unfinished masonry walls recalled the stone walls of a European cathedral during construction or after a WWII bombing raid.

"I felt immediate clarity that we should design a desert cathedral", says Steve Barduson AIA, LEED AP, the church's architect. The Rector Reverend Susan Snook also had a strong initial impression that the church nave should face south, overlooking the Phoenix Valley skyline.

Working in collaboration with liturgical consultant/interior designer, Reverend Cindy Voorhees, Steve began to envision a transformation of the building from a mansard roofed two story office building into a masonry "desert cathedral" with several internally lit spires and a new covered east entry.

There were two other major design cues. First, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright (Taliesin West) is located only a few miles away. Some of the colors and architectural graphics are inspired by Wright's regional influences. Second, the American "home" for the Episcopal faith is represented by the Episcopal "National Cathedral" in Washington, DC. National Cathedral inspired some of the gothic window shapes, the structurally necessary CMU buttresses and the massing of the steeple and gable facade to the south. Additionally, there is a touch of joviality found in how the tops of COTN's buttresses mimic the infamous "Darth Vader" gargoyle located on the National Cathedral.

More seriously, the intent was to also allow the design of the interior spaces and finishes to represent the "sacredness" of the desert cathedral.

The nave has mostly hard surfaces and natural materials, allowing COTN to have one of the longest controlled acoustical reverberation times in the state of Arizona. This helps enhance the worship experience, especially when led by the organ or choir. However, the church also has a state of the art line array sound system for speech intelligibility, which can be adjusted on an iPad from any chair in the nave. There are also two sets of high lumen video projectors and retractable screens for less traditional services.

"We had three goals for this building", says Barduson, "the church desired it to be welcoming, warm and sacred (Christ Centered) and they wanted it to be carried out as a blend of the traditional and the inspirational (contemporary)". "What a privilege to be able to work with Reverend Susan and Reverend Cindy on such a worthy project".

Product Information
Roofing: Sprayfoam Southwest Flooring: Interface, Daltile
Curtain Wall, Entrances & Storefronts: Arcadia
Lighting: Cooper, Lightsmith

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