San Dieguito United Methodist Church

Provide Focus! That was our first response when asked by the church to design the remodel of their sanctuary interior.  The existing 10-sided space had grown organically over its life, with organ pipes and chancel decorations added as donors stepped forward.  Our goal was to bring hierarchy and simplicity, provide visual resolution and add verticality to an otherwise horizontal space.

The curved slotted wood ‘Flame’, a reference to the Methodist symbol, provides verticality and lifts the eye toward the skylight and heaven.

The existing organ pipes were haphazard, creating visual noise.  The solution covered the pipes on the right with a permanent acoustic project screen and quiets the ones on the left with acoustic fabric and painted wood baffles that blend with the wall color, creating an asymmetrical yet balanced composition.

The chancel and cross were brought forward in the space, providing a screen for ramp accessibility behind the short wall and additional height at the cross.  Up-lighting the flame provides the highlighted backdrop to the cross.  Subtle changes in material textures provide visual interest in lieu of distractions.  Custom chancel furniture pieces were designed to reinforce the wood flame motif.

The ceiling was made darker and alcoves lighted to minimize contrasting shadows. These existing ceiling recesses also provided opportunities to help conceal and enhance the chancel lighting and sound system.   Eliminating the large pendant light fixtures allows the eye to absorb the full volume of the space.

With a subtle transition from dark blue to a lighter blue, the carpet runner at the main aisle leads the eye to the communion table, cross and flame on its way upward.  The curved chancel steps and curved pews radiate from the cross and flame, reinforcing the focal point while creating an intimate and unifying worship experience.

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