Before and After: St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Scottsdale, Arizona

Conrad Schmitt Studios recently announced that they were awarded the 2022 Acanthus Award for Interior Design for their work at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it is a project that I've been planning on sharing with our readers for some time. 

From the Studio:

We are pleased to accept the 2022 Acanthus Award for Interior Design for our work at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ. With murals, sculptures, stained glass, decorative details and more, this project was an opportunity to give this parish a reverent place to worship where no detail was left out.

Our jurors comments: "In Ecclesiastic design, while the liturgical arts and the architectural design go hand in hand and are often developed together, for budgetary reasons it often requires the interior development and sacred arts program to follow at a later date. With this submittal, it is obvious that the two were developed together and in this case the Liturgical Arts completely transform the space – realizing the original intent. They work harmoniously together with in a variety of decorative elements – painted wall and ceiling surfaces, murals, stained glass and decorative detailing. It is a credit to both the design team and the congregation to fully realize this in such a short period of time after the completion of the church."

It can be easy to forget the fact that churches do not generally start off fully decorated but are usually works in progress where successive generations contribute to their enrichment and beautification.  

In the instance of St. Bernadette's, we start with a a simple but noble design:

As we progress beyond the mere architectural bones of the church building and move into a phase where it is enriched by the other liturgical arts, we see just what a dramatic transformation takes place: 

Of course, the key is not merely the addition of imagery and colour, but also in the tasteful and intelligent employment of the same, building upon the noble Catholic tradition in this regard.

These additions have moved this church from being merely ordinary (in the very best sense of the word) to extraordinary, showing yet again the power and importance of liturgical art, not only as a tool for formation and catechesis, but to uplift, inspire and work in synergy with the sacred liturgy itself. 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.