Friday, July 7, 2017

St. Julie Billiart Church Sanctuary Renovation

Henninger's was contacted by Fr. George Vrabel, Pastor of St. Julie Billiart Church in North Ridgeville, Ohio, to make his sanctuary larger and to complement the existing architectural elements in his Church.  Fr. George's main problem was a sanctuary platform that was too small, giving the priest little room to move behind the Altar and en route to the mismatched Ambo.

In addition to the issues on the sanctuary platform, the areas to the side of the sanctuary were outdated and impractical.  The tabernacle was too small for the space and the beautiful hand-carved wood statues of Mary and Joseph were not highlighted on the wall.  Neither area matched the greater aesthetic or the shape of the Church.

Henninger's went to work with Fr. George and the design committee to come up with a design that would utilize the existing shapes in the Church, that would replace the existing tabernacle, and that would highlight the new tabernacle and the wood statues already in place.

Henninger's also began to design a larger Ambo that would match the existing sanctuary furniture that would be more functional and permanent than the one that was currently in place.

With the design elements coming together, Henninger's and Fr. George devised a new floor plan to accommodate the new Ambo and better spacing of the Altar and the Ambo as well as creating two platforms for under the tabernacle and the statues.

Existing Layout of Sanctuary
Revised Layout of Sanctuary

With the plans finalized, Henninger's went to work exposing the existing platform, then adding onto the platform for greater spacing for the priest and the sanctuary furniture.

Upon completion of the larger platform, plank tile was laid to give the impression of wood, keeping with the aesthetic of the multitude wood already in the Church.  Two colors of tile were chosen for the step, the main platform, and the top platform.

While the tile was being laid, preparations were being made at Henninger's work shop as the new Altar of Repose was being completed along with the frames for the right and left side of the sanctuary, which were then stained and prepped for transport, along with the  tabernacle.

Henninger's then began installing the items into the space, along with a new electrified sanctuary lamp above the tabernacle and with the inset of the niches painted a complementary color as the project neared completion.

With the installation of the new Ambo, the replacement of the carpet in the body of the Church to complement the new color scheme, and the installation of new chairs in the Church, the renovation was complete, beautifying the existing space while making it more functional and still holding true to the original concept of the design.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Restoration of St. Turibius Chapel

Restored St. Turibius Chapel

St. Turibius Chapel at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio recently underwent a dramatic restoration project under the direction of architect, William Heyer and general contractor, Ruscilli Construction.  The aim of the restoration was to show the true beauty of the chapel's architecture with a special emphasis on artwork and craftsmanship, while focusing the congregation's attention toward the Eucharist. Contributors to this restoration project included Evergreene Architectural Arts (mural work) and Henninger's (marble work).

Pontifical College Josephinum
The Pontifical College Josephinum is one of only 15 Pontifical seminaries in the world, and it's the only one outside of Italy.  Since it has Pontifical status, this seminary has a special distinction.  Completed in 1932 and designed by architect Frank A. Ludewig, the complex is an architectural marvel.  Its tower is a recognizable landmark on the northern side of Columbus, visible from miles away.  

Architect William Heyer of Columbus, Ohio has been working with the Josephinum since 2004 on various restoration projects.  He has provided architectural consulting for a new roof, structural masonry, student residences, other housing quarters, and the St. Rose Chapel.  The restoration of the St. Turibius Chapel was the Josephinum's largest, and most important undertaking. 
Archive photo and 1989 renovation photo
A main feature of St. Turibius Chapel for many decades was its large mural, designed and painted by Gerhard Lamers (circa 1936).  Since it was painted on an exterior wall, the mural deteriorated after each of the chapel's three renovations (1936, 1945, and 1953).  This mural was covered over during a 1989 renovation; hidden from site and unable to be restored. 

A studio with a high degree of artistic talent and a history of grand, religious projects was needed to create the mural to take its place.  Evergreene Architectural Arts of Brooklyn, New York was selected by the Pontifical College Josephinum.  

Design work at Evergreene Architectural Arts
The new mural is a celebration of Lamers' work with his original design intent and colors.  It was finalized with the assistance of William Heyer, and two consultants from the Josephinum staff: Rev. John Allen, STB (Vice President for Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations) and Rev. Douglas Martis, PhD, STD (Associate Professor and Director of Sacred Liturgy).  

Mural Installation

Completed Mural

The Altar of Sacrifice and Tabernacle Stand were designed by William Heyer.  He visited Henninger's in Cleveland with Rev. Martis and Rev. Allen to discuss the project with Henninger's marble fabricator, Renato Campi of The Italian Marble Company.  

Altar of Sacrifice design by William Heyer

At Henninger's warehouse, the species of marble were selected for the two Altars: Bottacino Classico body, with Rosso Levanto and Giallo Siena inset panels, and mensas in Calacatta Gold.  

Color rendering of Altar of Sacrifice after selection of marble species.

 The Altars were fabricated by The Italian Marble Company in Carrara Italy.
Fabrication Shop in Carrara, Italy

Altars and marble flooring was shipped from Italy to Ohio for on site installation.  Since St. Turibius Chapel is on the 3rd floor of the seminary, lifting the crates up and inside of the building were a challenge.  Henninger's crew performed the installation of the altars in about two weeks.  Overseeing the installation, and the entire restoration project was Ruscilli Construction Company.
Henninger's foreman, Jerry Klimo and Architect, William Heyer planning the installation from the site of the Altar of Sacrifice

Tabernacle Stand Installation
Altar of Sacrifice Installation
Marble Floor Medallion Installation

Altar of Sacrifice Installation
Completed Tabernacle Stand

Completed Altar of Sacrifice

Front view of both Altars

Back view of Altar of Sacrifice

Detail view of Altar of Sacrifice

Other important improvements include:
  • A new floor plan which allows for more seating and the Altar placed for the best liturgical service.
  • New porcelain tile floor with marble steps, risers, and medallions.
  • Enhanced handicap accessibility.
  • Improvements in the sound system and energy efficient lighting.

Procession of Reliquary

The Chapel and Altar were dedicated on April 24, 2017 by His Excellency, the Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, and the Chancellor of the Pontifical College Josephinum.

Altar Dedication

“The restored chapel will further the integration of a dynamic prayer life which is focused around the altar and the Paschal mystery,” said Msgr. Christopher J. Schreck, the college’s rector/president.

It was an honor and thrill for Henninger's to work on such an amazing project.  The "before and after" pictures tell a part of the story.  The rest of the story lies in the hundreds of smiling faces as they entered the restored Chapel for the first time after the project's completion.  Such a historic Chapel in such an important Seminary deserves world class attention.  We were proud to offer such attention and very grateful at the opportunity.

For more information about the restoration of St. Turibius Chapel, please visit The Catholic Times.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Communion of Saints Ambo

New Ambo

Communion of Saints Parish in Cleveland Heights, Ohio recently commissioned Henninger's to supply a new marble ambo.  The goal of the design was to match the existing Altar of Sacrifice.  This Altar was originally at St. Mary Seminary on Ansel Road.  When the Seminary moved to the Center for Pastoral leadership in Wickliffe in 1991, the pastor of St. Ann Church in Cleveland Heights, Rev. Thomas Mahoney, acquired its Altar:

Existing Altar of Sacrifice
While this Altar is certainly beautiful and massive, the Ambo never matched its style:

Mismatched styles of Ambo and Altar of Sacrifice
Design for matching Ambo, Photoshopped into sanctuary
New Ambo design

After its merger with neighboring churches in 2009, a new parish was created at St. Ann's, named Communion of Saints Parish.  The new pastor, Rev. John McNulty asked Henninger's to investigate a new ambo.  After a few designs and consulting with Associate Pastor, Rev. Matthew Byrne, a design was made to mimic the shape, style, and species of marble that already existed in the Altar of Sacrifice.  After approval of the design, the job was sent to Carrara, Italy for fabrication.  The fabricators sent shop drawings which were revised, then approved.

Shop Drawings from Italy

One of the final details was choosing the bible verse that was to be engraved on the gold mosaic medallion.  Rev. Matthew Byrne selected "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing".

Engraved scroll on mosaic medallion
The Ambo was then shipped in multiple pieces to Henninger's and assembled in their shop.  On Thursday, April 6 (two days before Palm Sunday), Henninger's crew delivered and installed the Ambo in one piece to Communion of Saints.  Most people had one of two reactions:
  1. You matched the Altar perfectly
  2. You must have found the old Ambo from St. Mary Seminary