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Solomon Awards 2019 – Holy Family Roman Catholic Church (Building Design Project – Other Religious Building or Use)

W2A Design Group offers over five decades of experience in providing exceptional award-winning architectural design, to a wide variety of clients for many types of projects. Our philosophy is not to specialize in specific project types or markets, but rather provide the best possible solutions for our varied corporate, governmental, educational, healthcare, library, religious, commercial and industrial clients. Our in-house staff of 10 provides architectural design; programming and master planning; feasibility studies; space planning; interior design including color selections, furniture selection, specification and procurement; and project management services for new construction, additions and complex renovations.

At W2A, we believe that the smartest solutions are reached through interaction and collaboration with our clients, forming a team of diverse individuals sharing their most creative ideas. The integration of different disciplines and the commitment to achieving a shared goal, help us create designs that enrich the lives of the people who use them.

Three principals provide overall management at W2A, and every project has the individual attention of at least one principal. W2A currently has three licensed architects (registered in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas). Our staff has an average of 18 years experience with the firm, and 22 years overall professional experience.

At W2A, we are proud of our long history, extensive client base that includes countless repeat commissions, numerous national and regional awards for design excellence, our extensive relationships with local contractors and sub-contractors and an outstanding record of project cost control. With more than 55 years of service in Pennsylvania, we look forward to continued growth and building relationships with new and existing clients.

The Holy Family Catholic Church in Nazareth, Pennsylvania was in great need of additional space to support the needs of its many ministries, and engaged in a series of feasibility studies over the course of more than ten years to identify the ideal building size, configuration, and location on their campus. This new 18,000-square foot Parish Center was centrally located in the parish campus, on a site previously occupied by the parish convent. Adjacent to the existing Elementary School and existing School Gymnasium, convenient to parking shared with the existing Church, the Parish Center benefits from maximum flexibility and access.

A welcoming new entrance plaza introduces the community to a grand new 1,200-square foot two-story fully glazed entrance Lobby in the Parish Center. Highlighted by a custom-fabricated stained wood feature wall containing a large backlit, one-of-a-kind stained-glass window featuring the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the Lobby was designed as a place for fellowship. This spacious lobby will serve casual parish functions including Sunday morning “coffee hour” after Mass, as well as smaller informal gatherings. The lobby will also provide additional gathering space that can be used in conjunction with functions being held in the adjacent Banquet Hall, with the Coffee Bar easily transformed for cocktail hour functions.

The second floor mezzanine, accessed by a grand open stair as well as an elevator, is highlighted by glass guardrails overlooking the lobby below. The mezzanine will provide additional space for smaller private gatherings that may break off from larger events, and can also serve as an independent gathering space throughout the week. The south-facing vision glass in the lobby was provided with exterior sun shades and interior light shelves to reduce excessive solar heat gain and glare without obstructing visibility or the expansive view.

An essential element of the project is a new 3,650 square foot Banquet Hall, which can accommodate 240 when set up with round tables. Provided with an acoustical operable partition and corridor-access in multiple locations, this room can be subdivided into two spaces for smaller functions that could occur simultaneously. The subdivided space contains a 1,350 square foot Luncheon Room, specifically designed to provide a more intimate setting for funeral luncheons and smaller events, as well as a 2,300 square foot Banquet Room. These rooms have been fit out with full audio-visual capabilities and large screen TVs.

These spaces are served by a full service commercial kitchen which can easily accommodate the needs of an outside caterer. The space has a lovely southern exposure, highlighted by large panoramic windows and two sets of double doors that will open out to a future patio area. The end walls contain custom-fabricated wood feature elements similar to the large feature element in the Lobby, which in this space also serve as protective surrounds for the TVs.

It was essential that the new Parish Center be physically connected to the existing Holy Family K-8 Elementary School, by means of a secure, weather-protected link.

Having operated a combination Gym/Cafeteria requiring daily setup and tear-down of tables for daily school lunch service for decades, the Building Committee was committed to providing a new dedicated Cafeteria in the Parish Center. The Parish Center second floor includes a 1,500 square foot Multi-Purpose Room, served by a second commercial Kitchen, directly connected to the school by means of a secured enclosed link structure, which will primarily serve as the new School Cafeteria.

The second floor also contains three large meeting rooms for the expanding parish community needs. These rooms will be available to the many parish groups both during the day and the evening.

The second floor was designed to provide the utmost safety of the school students, as the student-use spaces can be physically isolated from the remainder of the building when utilized by groups that are not directly associated with the school. Student activities can also be securely expanded into the meeting rooms during the day if needed, as those rooms can also be isolated from the remainder of the building. For functions during non-school hours, the whole building, including the Multi-Purpose Room, can be used in its entirety by the many parish groups.

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