Sandol Church

Site: Pine Brook, NJ, United States

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Religious

Client: Sandol Presbyterian Church

Sandol Church defines a form of architecture that is open to the community. It features a configuration of overlapped and distributed surfaces and programs which are multi-purpose to the community. The unfolding spaces wrap around the existing sacred space, creating a secondary skin of event space. This event space gives the opportunity for a mainly marginalized community to gather, socialize, and interact. The extension provides and encourages this interaction and forms the transitory space. The walls of the outside infrastructure morph to embrace the building and form into the undulating roof that encloses the children's space and floating playground.

The sounds of children at play and wind flowing through the glass instrument mingle with the echoes of prayer and celebration, thus defining for a moment, a whole in midst of the fragments - the role of a contemporary church in suburban life.

Sandol Church is a form of infrastructural extension responding to varied influences of surrounding contexts, conceived as dynamic fragments strategically materialized into congruous assemblage. Through the superimposition of architectonic layers the structure unfolds as an open tectonic field. The form of the building dissolves as the structure multiplies into a series of surfaces. The landscape and dense built fabric are interlaced within the network of ramps creating a new assembly of programs and situations.

The design strategy unified the image of the existing terrain, despite the inherent differences among the fragment. One perceives the infrastructure (freeways and power lines) and suburban fabric (single family homes and shopping centers) with the landscape as one system. They are the sediments of one and the same geology. This landscape is always subjugated to a process of transformation in which disparate elements conjoin into a fluid spatial continuum. Through mutations and transformations, new morphologies provide the possibility of an architecture of landscape and infrastructure.