RELIGION IN TRANSITION : St. Luke United Methodist Church
Location: Austin, Texas
Design Critic: Kevin Alter
Duration: 15 weeks
As congregations and their respective buildings age, we are asked to question what a religious building is and what it could be. St. Luke is a progressive Methodist congregation located in Austin's historic Clarksville neighborhood. My proposal for the new church combines the existing three programs currently on the site into a comprehensive, unified building. In order to preserve the existing character and identity of St. Luke, which dates back to the 1920s, my design re-purposes the current sanctuary as a public 'gift' to the city for weekly markets, public events, and as a sheltered amenity adjacent to the new along West Lynn, a busy commercial thoroughfare. The new building would house a fellowship hall and childcare center on the ground floor; non-profit office space, a community garden, and the St. Luke chapel on the second floor; and supportive housing and the parsonage on the top floor overseeing the work of the congregation. Though the proposal is larger than most of the context buildings, a lasting three-story institution would offer public amenities and an updated home for St. Luke.