Before and After: St. Louis' Church in Memphis

Conrad Schmitt Studios recently shared another 'before and after' project, this time at St. Louis's Catholic Church located in Memphis, Tennessee. This particular example shows us a relatively modern church in a style typical of the mid 20th century. As was so often the case in churches of this vintage, brick and perpendicular lines reign supreme. The project therefore brought with it some inherent design challenges given the architectural limitations.  Ingeniously however, the feeling of being hit by a flat surface in the wall of the sanctuary was treated by removing the wall found behind the altar and replacing it with stained glass, thus completely altering the previously flat and almost claustraphobic sanctuary.  Even more importantly however, was the installation of a grand ciborium magnum by which to emphasize the altar, with a reredos type structure included to house the tabernacle and also frame the original crucifix and accompanying statues of Our Lady fns St. John. Also not to be neglected, behind the main altar, are a series of Romanesque style reliefs depicting various saints. 

In addition to this, the rather orphaned looking statues of Our Lady and St. Joseph found to either side of the altar were altered such that they are now situated upon traditional side altars, framed as well by semi-circular backdrops that include patterned symbols related to each saint. 

The net result of this project is to change an otherwise mediocre, mid-century modern parish church into one of much greater beauty and one in which the altar, rather than the sanctuary wall, is what one finds as the primary architectural focus. 



For more information, visit the website of Conrad Schmitt Studios or see them on social media

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