La Canada Presbyterian Church

Sometimes things gradually change over time so slowly that we don’t even realize that it has occurred. This fifty year old complex of buildings contained many of the traditional and often now dated forms of the fifties and sixties. Set well back from the street, behind an overgrown landscape screen, the existing “A” frame Sanctuary had a center aisle with pews and an extremely small and obsolete narthex at the entry. An extensive and beautiful organ, with exposed copper pipes at the back of the chancel was well loved. Other one story buildings crowded the site, and all of them were accessed via a three foot wide sidewalk between two buildings. Only a seventy foot tall tower identified the church from the street. The church had become choked off from the street and from its own buildings in the rear of the site.

Phase One (of a three phased master plan) of this major addition and renovation added a new gallery Narthex to the traditional worship space that in turn connected to an all new contemporary Worship Arts Space, suitable for media, theater, and the arts. The new spaces are all near the main street frontage. The all glass gallery spatially connects the two worship venues, and also connects the church to the community with its adjacency and transparency to the street. The curved copper, shingled roof also dynamically attracts the community into the complex.

The second building is the new Family Life Center. Built on three levels, it contains a new Fellowship Hall seating 300 with an accompanying Kitchen on the main level, a Youth Center on the lower level, and large Meeting Rooms on the top floor. Building forms relate both to the existing traditional steep pitched roof buildings, and the new addition to the Sanctuary. A large outdoor light well and patio facing East allows light and air to permeate the lower level and removes any sense of “basement” to the youth facilities. Sound is well contained in this lower level and the youth can be very loud and active without disrupting others on the site.

A third/fourth building includes a new preschool and Christian Education classrooms, along with new administrative offices.

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