Hopke & Associates, Inc. - Architecture / Planning / Interiors - Williamburg, Virginia



St. Olaf Catholic Church - exterior | virtual visit

St. Olaf Catholic Church is located in Norge, Virginia. The existing church is a wood framed building in a transitional architectural style of a simple cruciform plan and Georgian form. In 2012, the building was master planned for an expansion to include a 700 seat Worship Space connected by a Commons, all in a contemporary vernacular, departing dramatically from the original architecture. The site work was constructed as well as the Commons.

In 2014, HOPKE & ASSOCIATES was engaged to re-design the expansion in a manner that was more compatible with the original architecture and expressive of the traditions of Catholic Church architecture.

The Worship Space has been re-imagined in a cruciform with a day-lighted cupola at the cross-gables, lighting the Altar directly below. Decorative trusses, stone appointments and exposed wood decking recall a Nordic tradition, responding to the homeland of its patron Saint and the Village of Norge. True classical columns and entablatures circumscribe and organize the key liturgical elements, recalling Catholic ecclesiastic traditions.

The new exterior architecture draws upon features of the original building (e.g. fish-scale siding in simple gable forms, ocular windows, decorative columns, etc…) translating them into more substantial elements (e.g. herringbone brickwork in simple gable forms, rosette windows, true Tuscan columns, etc…). The existing contemporary Commons expansion will be transformed to be complementary, with a pronounced gable and triumphal arch entrance motif.

The existing curved sculptural wall, built as part of this expansion, will be enlivened with classical detailing to achieve a more human scale. A matching wall will also be built, creating a curved entrance logia. Together, the building exterior and interior will shape the worshipers’ experience to be simultaneously uplifting, with its lofty spaces and delicate play of light, and grounded, with its rich visual cues and historic allusions.

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