With this creative restoration, Marlon Blackwell Architect transformed a generic shop building into a sanctuary and fellowship hall for an Eastern Orthodox congregation. Keeping the original structure, roof, and most of the cladding intact, the conversion wasted little and used strategic interventions to yield a bold, spiritual environment. The narthex ceiling descends above a floor of rift-cut oak, and a sky-lit tower marks the entry to the sanctuary. The dome, which is a key feature of the interior, is a surprising reuse of an abandoned satellite dish that was resurfaced with plaster.
Jury: “The project makes the most with the least, displaying deep resource efficiency as an integral part of its design ethos—something more architects should be thinking about and practicing.”
Client: “The design of the building has enhanced the beauty of our worship, the dome amplifies the singing, the special windows allow for a mystical presence, and the dedicated spaces for the icons encourage a visual attraction to His presence.” —Rev. John Atchison, Saint Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church
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