Case Study #4

Church of St. John the Evangelist, Ottawa

This downtown church operates many ministries to support, feed and clothe the homeless and vulnerable, but its building, a 19th century redbrick Victorian structure, has a forbidding appearance which does not convey that open-ness. Its interior layout, a nave filled with pews facing an elevated chancel, does not match the aspirations of the congregation, who would prefer a more involving role. And despite the efforts of the choir, organ, and orchestra the sound is deadened by a layer of wooden boards that cover all the walls and ceilings.

However, all these features are historic, and although they are unfunctional they have sentimental appeal, so their replacement had to be handled in a way that respects tradition. So the new central altar is surrounded by an arrangement of the old pews, a new bright and open narthex is added to the old entrance on Elgin Street, and the absorptive woodwork finds a new use in controlling the excessive echoes in the parish hall. More info:

Church of St. John the Evangelist - Centralized Worship

Worship is centralised for a more intimate connection with the altar.

Church of St. John the Evangelist - Sloping Seating

Sloping seating gives everybody a good view.

Church of St. John the Evangelist - Former Chancel

The former chancel is partitioned-off from the former nave, and becomes a chapel.

Church of St. John the Evangelist - Chapel and Columbarium

Chapel and columbarium.

Church of St. John the Evangelist - New Narthex

A new narthex projects from the face of the church.

Church of St. John the Evangelist - Outside View

A view at the intersection of Somerset and Elgin, with a new narthex and ramp for the disabled.