Blessed Sacrament

Tektonika Studio Architects was retained by the Blessed Sacrament Church to provide architectural services for an expansion and renovation of their existing church. The original church had been decorated by the renowned French artist, Andre Gerard. His work depicting the life work of Josef Dutton, a Stowe native who dedicated his life in the service of the leper colony on Molokai, Hawaii, is displayed on the exterior of the building. On the interior Gerard painted the windows, ceilings, and altar backdrop with other liturgical motifs. One of the design challenges was to maintain this artwork while providing for the additions and renovations.

The program requirements were to provide additional seating for the congregation, a new entry foyer with a bathroom and a reconciliation/crying room and support spaces behind the altar for the priest, choir and other officiates. The resulting design transformed the rectangular footprint of the church into a traditional catholic cruciform shape with transepts, apse and narthex. The design expanded the seating capacity of the church by a third and provided the much need support space. Code elements were addressed throughout the building including fire protection and accessible bathrooms. At the center of the new building elements is the altar which was enlarged to accommodate the new program requirements. The stone flooring here is comprised of several native Vermont stone types which were carefully matched and integrated into the new design.

The project is unique in that many surfaces of the church including the ceiling and exterior walls contained the artwork and murals integral to the building which were impacted by the new design and construction. Protecting and in some cases moving this artwork to new locations was both a technical and aesthetic challenge. TSA relocated artwork pieces to integrate and compliment both new and existing elements within the redesigned configuration of the church. Maintaining the hybrid timber frame and adding onto the structure of the church was another design challenge as was the careful matching of historic finishes with new surfaces and details.