Architect: Groth Design Group
Owner: St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and School
Contractor: Catalyst Construction
With limited growth potential for church and school on the existing site, St. Matthew’s moved to a greenfield site adjacent to a series of new developments in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Design started at a site planning level, first, to orientate the building, and future expansions, to maximize street presence, but to also fit into the community and surrounding development.
This space is designed so that the future expansion can include a dedicated commons addition without having to relocate the kitchen or affecting the overall circulation of the building. The gym includes a stage that also hosts worship, gathering and performances. The stage is designed to become dual-sided when a dedicated auditorium is added on the opposite side.
Scale also became an important design element. Not only the scale of the overall building, but scales of different elements based on their use. A wonderful example is the scale and proportions for the entries for the older students compared to the younger students. Further, a series of windows at the early childhood center, are playful in their varied sizes and heights. This rhythm creates a unique façade, but also provides viewing opportunities for all ages.
The use of brightly-painted plywood as ceiling clouds and the windows are two great examples of the design not impacting the budget. Additionally, the design team judiciously used more expensive and sophisticated materials to highlight important parts of the building. The library has a large glass façade, while wood, stone and expressed structure highlights main entrances.
The interior design features a simple, calming palette with pops of color, religious symbol and messaging throughout to reinforce St. Matthew’s mission. The building is oriented around two large circulation spines intersecting in a large node entered from the main lobby. One is partially skewed at the early childhood center to help reinforce the division between the two program elements. These corridors integrate color, flooring changes, large numbers and religious text to reinforce wayfinding.
The resulting design and built facility more than meet the Owner’s needs and goals and truly fulfills the theme for their inaugural year in the facility - “Building on Solid Ground”.