St. Alphonsus Parish has been serving the Catholic community in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood for over 100 years.
St. Alphonsus Church was built in the 1950s. The architecture is iconic of the time it was built with nods towards brutalist and modernist styling that was popular at the time. The lighting for the church was high and broad, which made the church feel dim and unfocused. PNTA was approached as a design-build firm to upgrade the lighting system in the church to help modernize the feel and assist aging congregants to better be able to read the liturgy.
Type of Work: Lighting & Control
Our solution? PNTA replaced the existing fixtures with energy efficient fixtures that provided better, focused light. The goal was to accentuate the height and majesty of the building and begin to focus the congregants on their faith even as they walked into the building. PNTA added graze lighting to the side walls of the church to accentuate its height even further and create a dramatic visual impact. We were careful not to light the stained glass windows so that the sun coming through them would not be muted.
PNTA worked with the priest to understand what the story should be for the eyes to focus on as people entered, worshipped and left. PNTA developed lighting for the sanctuary of the church, creating focus on the cross, the statue of Mary and Joseph, and - most importantly - the tabernacle. PNTA created focus on the priest for liturgy by accentuating him and his message through lighting.
PNTA also lit the icons in the space for better focus. The stages of the cross and the alcoves were lit to bring both focus and reflection.
One of the big challenges for this lighting project was to preserve the feel of the building. The parishioners and the priest did not want to see the fixtures that were lighting the front of the space or the walls. PNTA worked with them to create a design that would mask the theatrical fixtures from the congregants and honor the aesthetic of the building that was important to the parish.