Posted in projects on January 30, 2017 1:27 pm EST

Minnesota Renovation Scores Big Impact on a Small Budget

Architectural designers at Rafferty, Rafferty, Tollefson, Lindeke Architects in St. Paul, Minn., put their heads together for a cost-effective renovation on a tight budget.

St. Mary's Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn., as renovated by Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke Architects Inc. (RRTL).











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TAGS: architectural design, budget, renovation,


By Church Designer Staff

A renovation project at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn., brought out questions typical of many such church renovation projects: How can this church be modified, yet preserve its architectural integrity while enhancing its liturgical effectiveness? How can change be implemented within budget (a $600,000 budget in the case of St. Mary's)?

According to representatives for St. Paul's Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke Architects (RRTL), architect on the renovation project, a series of simple responsive design steps removed competing altar areas, resolved accessibility concerns, and replaced the entire lighting system. The chancel floor area was extended forward to create a more intimate setting while defining a larger and safer area around the altar for communion. In addition, the church's disintegrating flooring was overlaid with new Terrazzo flooring tiles, and the font was repositioned liturgically and architecturally.

More project specifics

New risers for steps leading to the chancel were sculpted to allow ease of movement and a variety of preaching positions, RRTL reports. In addition, a new and unusually narrow pulpit was created to minimize visual blocking. Wood paneling was removed as part of shifting the location for the daily chapel, and detailed, hand crafted wood pieces were carefully and selectively reused. A sophisticated lighting scheme accommodates each alternative light setting while removing the glaring original fixtures.

Images and art courtesy of RRTL.

However, the creation of a traditional Rood Screen separating the new chapel from the main worship area is the key defining element within the worship setting. It defines a new daily chapel, dedicated to St. Mary and lowered to align with the other chancel areas, RRTL representatives report. The original altar was modified, shifting major pieces to accommodate the lowered floor. Within this setting, wall paneling was simplified to create focused emphasis and introduce a sculpted Mother and Child casting.

Project snapshot

Construction Cost: $600,000

Size: 5,300 SF

Completion: 2015




Learn more about the companies in this story:

Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke Architects Inc. (RRTL)



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