Architects into more than aesthetics

December 18th, 2008 by Peter Schmelzer

Well, Aesthetics may be at the root of the issue here, but there’s more….

Here’s a shot of St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. It captures a lot of what we do as architects that doesn’t meet the eye of the building occupant.

The bottom steel beam is new, supporting existing structure above. The upper steel beam (left) and the steel joist are existing (hence the need for the new steel beam!) The concrete block, corrugated decking, and electrical conduits are all existing. The black PVC pipe is new plumbing vent pipe for a new restroom and a new sewage ejector pump.

Our challenge is to bring together all the parts of the remodeling project into a cohesive whole. In this one location, we coordinated with mechanical and structural engineers and the general contractor to make sure we could cover the necessities and keep it all looking good and jiving with the Master Plan. The sewage ejector pump ties into city sewer, so we engaged a civil engineer for that connection.

This project is the first step in St. Ansgar’s Master Plan (of our design) and it consists of a new vestibule, an elevator, a new universal restroom and the required elevator equipment room. It might seem like a lot of consultants for a small job, but that’s what it takes to do a solid job of covering the design bases both for the immediate project and for the future phases of the Master Plan.

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