St. Philip Benizi

Fullerton, CA

Located on a congested urban lot in the city of Fullerton, the Catholic Parish of St. Philip Benizi was the unfortunate victim of a Church arsonist. Having worshipped in a temporary Hall building, the fire created the necessity to design the first dedicated Church in the parish's long history. Due to the emerging need for a church that would seat 1,000-1,200, a revised master plan was undertaken to determine how best to serve the community’s needs into the next millennium.

In order to provide adequate site area for the new church, the master plan envisioned removal of the obsolete priory and offices, a reconstruction of the existing school buildings into a two-story structure, and expansion of the existing Parish Hall. The phasing priority was clear that the Church would be the first building undertaken in order to revitalize the community and facilitate the removal of the temporary Church tent being used for Sunday Mass.

In literally rebuilding the church, the community was brought together to provide valuable input into the new church. It became clear early on that the Church would not derive its form from any specific cultural style, as the community is quite diverse, and that an architectural style which was simple and elegant would provide a catalyst for unification.