Church designed to stand the test of time
Rev. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, made one remarkably influential statement in 2007 that acted as a guiding light for designing the new home for St. Joseph Seminary ‘The Catholic Church thinks in hundreds of years'. That one simple declaration helped shape the entire design, guiding the project team to create a beautiful seminary with a sense of permanence, a modern rendition of traditional church architecture with timeless elegance.
The design team set out to construct a building with a sense of timeless permanence, reinterpreting traditional forms of church architecture arches, buttresses, and side aisles with exposed concrete and steel. From the outset, the design team took a highly collaborative approach to the design process, attempting to act in unison as a single master builder made up of many professional experts.
At the heart of the seminary, visually and spiritually, is the new chapel, a sanctuary created entirely with cast-in-place fair-faced visually exposed concrete. The chalk-white self-consolidating concrete was cast 11 metres high in a single massive pour. To achieve seamless integration of structural engineering and architecture over the visually exposed wall area of over 700 square metres, the design team developed an extensive project management and risk control plan for the concrete work.
The entire project team included a structural engineer, architect, interior designer, construction manager, formwork contractor, formwork supplier and concrete supplier working together for more than 18 months to develop a methodology to achieve the highest possible levels of architectural finish. The quality of design, detailing, fabrication and construction for St. Joseph Seminary is unsurpassed and recalls the craftsmanship of times of old. Today the project stands complete, on budget, with a construction cost of $33.5 million dollars and a LEED Silver designation with the Canada Green Building Council.