Projects

ChristChurch Presbyterian - Atlanta, GA (USA)

Urban spirituality

The ChristChurch Presbyterian in Atlanta is an outstanding example of a religious building that combines contemporary architecture with functional requirements
Author
Donatella Bollani
Photos
Timothy Eckersley
Architect
Gertler & Wente Architects, LLP
Surfaces
MARAZZI
Year of completion
2014

Atlanta’s new Presbyterian church stands at the corner of Peachtree Street, the main north-south road running through Georgia’s state capital.
The building was designed by Gertler and Wente Architects, a firm with more than thirty years of experience across the US specialising in urban projects, public buildings, universities and works for non-profit organisations. The practice is also responsible for the design of North American retail spaces for such luxury brands as LVMH, Christian Dior, Fendi, Ermenegildo Zegna and Tiffany.
In this smaller scale project, Gertler and Wente Architects fulfilled the Presbyterian congregation’s request for a modern church with a strong urban character that would be friendly and easily accessible to the large community it serves.
Although the shorter side of the site is relatively small, the southern edge runs for a long way along the main road, and at the intersection between the boundary roads the architects were able to delineate a public space. This enabled them to create a building that would be recognisable and welcoming while maintaining a strong identity.
The design of the façades is based on the contrasting colours of ceramic wall tiles from Marazzi.
The Monolith series and the Soho series with its 3D finish are used in alternation on the entrance volumes and on the roadside structure intended to house offices and a café. The decision to use the same finish on the interior floors and in the reception areas outside the church made it possible to create a natural continuity between the sanctuary and the urban space. This design element, which involved the installation of Soho series tiles, won the ChristChurch Presbyterian an honourable mention in the «Exterior Installation Recognition of Excellence» category of the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition 2015.
The award, promoted by Confindustria Ceramica and the Italian Trade Commission ICE, is now in its twenty-second year and has reaffirmed its mission of recognising North American architecture and interior designer practices that use Italian tiles in their projects with an innovative approach and a strong focus on quality.
Marazzi also won the Compasso d’Oro ADI 2011 Honourable Mention for the design of Soho porcelain tile. The same product had already won other international awards including the EDIDA award and the International Best Design of the World.
Although the client decided not to proceed with LEED certification, the project nonetheless focused strongly on reducing environmental impact.
About half the surface area was recovered from an existing building which also underwent energy upgrading. The heating and cooling systems, the water system and the lighting solutions guarantee low energy consumption, while the electrochromic glass surfaces — shielded by metal solar screens — allow solar gain to be controlled and optimise energy requirements for cooling.

Tiles
Marazzi, Monolith and Soho
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
60x60 - 60x120 cm
Colours
White, Anthracite, Grey
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 120-150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 45/N mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 (Soho) R10 (Monolith)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
ECOLABEL
LEED
NF UPEC
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