Holy Ghost Catholic Church
The new sanctuary for a Catholic Parish in the small town of Hammond, La. was designed to act as a social and a contextual bridge between the neighboring university and the historic downtown “commercial arts and crafts” urban and residential fabric. Furthermore, it attempts to conceptually bridge between the traditional form, organization and ritual procession of “the Catholic Church” and the progressive, contemporary image and social re-organization of “the new Vatican Community Catholic Church”. In this respect the 1,000 seat sanctuary is organized to reflect the present concepts of liturgy (i.e. seating in the round, centrally located Ambo, fully submersible baptismal font, reconciliation chapel, etc.) while the narthex, serving as the social gathering space, takes the familiar form of the traditional nave by use of gabled parapets and buttressed support columns. This large space provides a receptacle for linkages between the well knit small town community and the solemn ritual of the Catholic mass by extending itself out into the processional plaza as an embrace to that community. This interactive relationship is further exemplified by the visual access provided by high windows and glass corner devotional and reconciliation chapels. As a structural expression of community, an interwoven network of truss framework (re: the church community) is supported by four great pillars (re: the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The fully submersible tomb-like granite baptismal font is symbolically placed at the entry with skylights above. The altar, in contrast to traditional manifestations is centrally located , and approachable from all sides from within the communal gathering. The Corpus, Baptismal font, and altar were products of intense collaboration with local artists and craftsmen, a critical emphasis towards community involvement.