Church Renovation #6 – Lighting in the Church

Our parish church is unique and noteworthy in its design and architecture. It was designed in the mid-1970s and represents a few simple, yet powerful, design elements. The simple elements of our church are brick, wood, colored glass and fabric. The white Italian marble of the altar, tabernacle, ambo and baptismal font are also unique parts of the church design. All of our renovation decisions have worked to retain the church’s original vision.

Our church was envisioned as a quiet and reflective space with soft and limited lighting. The architect, Mr. Cecil Holland, hoped for a space for reflection and prayer that would strengthen and support its visitors before returning to the complexities and beauty of the “outside” world. The breathtaking view of the Wasatch Mountains seen immediately upon leaving the church was an intended experience. The plaza in front of the church is placed precisely for the benefit of this view.

In the late 1980s, in an attempt to bring more natural light into the church, the beautiful beveled glass was placed in the rear doors, the window was added near the votive candles and the glass door entry was added near Holy Family Hall. While well-intended, these changes only brought a strong glare into the church and back-lit the congregation. From the altar, the members of the congregation are merely dark featureless figures. The window and doors will receive a type of mesh covering that will diffuse the light and eliminate the glare.

Special attention has been given to bringing more soft and improved light into the body of the church. Experts in the design and engineering of lighting have been engaged. You will be seeing some testing of fixtures and their placement as we search for best of lighting systems. Most fixtures will be recessed in the ceiling to provide increased lighting in the body of the church. We also hope to more effectively illuminate the beautiful Stations of the Cross. Advancements in the intensity and variety of lighting will be incorporated in our plans. All lighting will have possibilities of changes in intensity (dimming). The eight hanging pendant light fixtures will remain, while being thoroughly cleaned and repaired where needed.

This new lighting in the church will be a central element of our renovation plans. It will contribute to a renewed feeling in our church. Special attention has been given to appropriate improvements while respecting the integrity of the church’s design. Lighting will be a major financial element of the renovation as well, and is being given the kind of care that it deserves and requires.

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