PLACES OF WORSHIP: Coptic Orthodox Church | Fresno, CA | In-Progress

The congregation of Archangels Michael & Gabriel Coptic Orthodox Church has outgrown its current location and has tasked PHA with the design of their new home which will include a classroom wing, a social hall and outdoor social spaces in addition to the sanctuary.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the Christian Church of Egypt, which is one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world. PHA has been working closely with the priest and church committee in order to weave the Church’s 20 centuries of traditions into the design of the building and its relationship to the site. The starting point for the design was the requirement for a strong East / West axis with the alter sited at the East end at the termination of the main aisle. The main entrance of the Church does not face a street, but opens onto a plaza on the west side of the structure. The plaza is flanked by an outdoor social gathering space which is directly connected to the social hall. A children’s play area is connected to the adjacent classroom wing. The strong connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces provide fluidity between the indoor and outdoor activities.

The defining Architectural feature of the Church will be a large copper dome located directly above the altar which will allow natural light to flood the space below. Another important feature is a curved mosaic wall facing N. Maple Avenue.  Since the Church entrance doesn’t face a main street, the mosaic wall will serve as a strong connection between the church, the street and the neighborhood beyond.

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