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Marcus Moore Restorations

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Dupont Circle’s St. Thomas’ Parish Planning to Build Anew

By P.L. Wolff

Accompanying images can be viewed in the October 2012 issue PDF

Forty years after an arson fire totally destroyed the imposing Gothic-style St. Thomas’ Parish church, built at the turn of the 20th century at 18th and Church Streets, Rector Nancy Lee Jose and architect Matthew Jarvis of Alexandria, Virginia-based AURAFORM announced plans to build on the site of the old church.

Appearing before the Dupont Circle ANC at its March 10, 2010 meeting, Rector Jose said that the designs are currently in development, that the Parish is currently in its fundraising phase, and that they are looking to engage the community in earnest to build a partnership throughout this process.

As stated in the publication they made available, the new sanctuary’s design “is

a marriage of the traditional to the modern, affirming and honoring our Episcopal heritage. The building itself, through its bold vision, will minister to and welcome the surrounding community, as well as the greater community.” In that spirit, the sanctuary is designed for uses other than worship, including concerts, theatrical performances, lectures, and art exhibitions.

As can be seen in the architect’s preliminary concept rendering shown on page 1, the 18th Street frontage will feature a formal, three-sided entry stair and a wide, accessible ramp leading to a large outdoor welcoming greeting space. On the Church Street side an expansive glass wall, partially clear and partially translucent, will allow the sanctuary to be flooded with light. Directly outside beyond the glass wall an elevated 25-foot deep green space extending 50 feet along Church Street will enhance the streetscape.

The original Gothic altar ruin that remains and today anchors the small park’s eastern side adjacent to the undamaged parish house will be enclosed and incorporated within a side chapel.