St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

Located in a suburban neighborhood outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church needed a master plan for their expanding parish, which included many young families. During the project’s inquiry phase, BVH developed an intensive participatory process that involved as many parishioners as possible, including special workshops for children.

The first phase of work included a new 1,000-seat sanctuary addition, a circular outdoor plaza/gathering space, a large narthex, reservation chapel, permanent space for the Youth Ministry program, a new nursery, flexible educational space and a religious education resources center.

Centered around an entry plaza, the circular site plan represents a path of searching and finding oneself through religious practice. Massive artist-designed etched glass doors lead into the narthex followed by a tunnel-like threshold of locally quarried limestone leading to the sanctuary. Parishioners are greeted by a ‘blessing rock’ that initiates a blue tile pathway leading to a full-immersion baptismal font located in the middle of the worship space. Parishioners had significant input on the finishes and liturgical furnishings during the planning process. Distinct sight lines draw the eye to the altar, and the acoustics in the sanctuary have gained the space recognition as a venue for regional musicians.The separate Chapel of Reservation holds the Blessed Sacrament and provides opportunity for adoration and personal prayer.

Location

Hiawatha, IA

Year Completed

2011

Owner

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

Size

24,000 sq. ft.

Awards

  • AIA Excellence in Design Award, 2014
  • LEED Silver Certification

BVH Team