Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church

Submitted by Elizabeth Devereaux

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Client: Noe Valley Ministry

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team

Artist

Elizabeth Devereaux

Devereaux Architectural Glass

Architect

John Goldman

Goldman Architects

Other

Owen Gabbert, Christopher Tallant, Hannah Bearden

Fabrication Team, Devereaux Glass

Other

Owen Gabbert

Devereaux Architectural Glass

Overview

For the historic Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, architect John Goldman designed a renovation which expanded the worship space to include an in-floor labyrinth, and a 12' w x 19' centerpiece art glass window. Noe Valley Ministry has been an integral part of its neighborhood for more than three decades, ever since it began to reach beyond the walls of its home on Sanchez Street to serve a larger worshipping community, work for social justice, foster and appreciate the arts and help congregants work on personal and spiritual challenges.

Goals

The integration of the art glass within the space was of central importance to the client and the architect, and became the focus of the design. Thus, the art glass mirrored the labyrinth in the space, even the name of the project, "Coming to the Center." It also gave reference to beloved artist, Ruth Azawa's branch-like cross in the space. Goldman notes, "The parts fit together beautifully."

Process

The design process is always collaborative. It involves 3 meetings, the first of which is a "listening" process. I ask the Design Committee to tell me about themselves as a community, what their unique identity is, what has the deepest meaning for them. I study the site, architectural plans, the direction of the light, the size and use of the space, and offer a number of design solutions. Through this design process, some aspects of each design were integrated and developed into a final design, which I further amplified and refined with input from the architect. With this process it integrated my style and design focus, while their input made it "theirs." Upon completion, the Noe Valley Ministry wrote "the process was smooth and the results stunning....the window is an expression of the expansive light we seek to bring forth to the community."

Additional Information

In this intimate sanctuary, the window is the dominant feature in the space. It was of utmost importance that the window feel like a fit within it. The triple-flashed (layered), painted and kiln-fired glass is mouth blown and custom made for the window design, and the lead work is expanded by hand cut and laminated lead overlays. I was acutely aware of controlling both the visibility and glare by selecting mostly translucent rich colors of glass, since the window faced onto neighboring houses at the bottom, and the bright eastern morning light as it ascended .