Old St. Patrick’s Church

Type: Cultural
Location: Chicago, IL
Year: 1999
Size: 30,000 sf


Old St. Patrick’s Church

In 1983, Father Jack Wall became Pastor of Old St Patricks Church, the oldest public building in Chicago. With only four parishioners and a worn building, Father Wall began to revive the parish by developing community programs and restoring the church building, which houses original stained glass windows designed by artist Thomas O’Shaughnessy.

The windows, which express Celtic culture as seen in the 9th-century illuminated manuscript the Book of Kells, inspired the goal of the renovation: to connect Celtic spirituality to contemporary Catholic worship. The project included the design of intricate, curvilinear stencils on light fixtures, elegant plaster reliefs, and stone flooring, using computer-aided design and waterjet cutting technology. A new altar and pews were created, incorporating motifs from Celtic culture at both grand and intimate scales.

A gracious, light-filled space, rejuvenated with history, welcomed an influx of new parishioners into a thriving Church. The renovation of Old St Patricks was honored with a prestigious national AIA Award for Design Excellence.

Awards: AIA 2002 National Award for Interior Architecture, IFRAA 2001 Religious Architecture Award, 2001 Guth Illumination Design Award, Friends of Downtown 2000 Best Renovation Award, AIA 1996 Chicago Interior Architecture Award

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