Location: Kentwood, Michigan
Completion Date: June 2014 Category: Building Award Mission: “If this rebuilt church does nothing else, it should create a journey of welcome, integrating a diverse, multicultural and multigenerational community that fosters a deeper evangelization through liturgy and sacrament (Shrine of the Penitent), reflecting a prayerful, reverent encounter with the beauty of the transcendent, while inspiring serenity, refuge, worship and mission that reflects our Catholic identity.” St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church is designed to create a spiritual experience and presence for all parishioners and the surrounding community. The spiritual presence of the church is communicated through texture, materiality and height. One follows an axial journey into the church, which extends outdoors for visibility and strength. A transparent and lively gathering area supports worship activities and welcomes parishioners and visitors into the church. Serving as the hub for parishioners and a front door to the community, the high gathering space serves to evangelize. The spirituality of the space is created with the use of natural lighting and texture, showcasing the activity within the church to the community. The sanctuary connects one to nature and their spirituality. This experience is highlighted with clerestory daylighting and stained glass artistry. The presence of the organ pipes and chambers highlight the importance of music. Portraying beauty and mystery, the tabernacle is sheltered by a bronze baldacchino sculpture. The gathering space extends from high to low, creating a quiet and reverent axial journey to the chapel. The axis is marked by the direct and repetitive nature of the stone, as well as the path marked in the floor and ceiling. Upon exiting the church, one is spiritually inspired to evangelize within the greater community. The architecture aims to serve as a beacon for the community and known as a place that is safe, welcoming, and spiritual.