Saint Peter's Anglican Church

Tallahassee, Florida, USA


Client: St. Peter's Anglican Church

Completion Date: Consecrated on July 7, 2014

Size: 32,000 Sq. Ft.

Cost:  $11M

Awards:  2013 AIA Tallahassee Chapter Merit Award


St. Peter’s Anglican Church is the first new Cathedral of the Anglican Church in North America to be constructed since their official organization in 2009.  The building is intended to represent the strong ties of the new Anglican Church in North America to the Church of England and the many traditions that emanate from that relationship.


St. Peter’s challenged their Architect to create a building that conforms to the spatial and experiential qualities found in historic English gothic style churches of ages past, and at the same time follows LEED principles of today with respect to the use of resources and energy to construct and maintain the structure.  The result is a fusion of classic design and state-of-the art technology and construction.


The building is situated on seven acre piece of property on U.S. 319 (Thomasville Road).  Challenges posed by the site include traffic noise from the busy highway and significant storm-water treatment requirements from the City of Tallahassee.  These issues were addressed by creating a pond at the front of the site, behind which the building is located.  Visitors park in the rear of the site in a combination of paved and reinforced grass parking areas.  Pedestrian traffic is then channeled to a formal promenade that leads to the west doors of the building.  This orientation offers visitors the opportunity to experience the site and shields the main entry doors from the noise of the busy highway.  The promenade that leads to the building is on an absolute east-west axis and continues into the building to form the central aisle.  This orientation is in keeping with the gothic tradition, where parishioners enter the building from the west doors and process toward the east and the rising sun.


The 32,000 square foot building footprint is based on the traditional cruciform shape of historic gothic churches.  This is the first of many biblical references that were enfolded into the design including the three towers, representing the Holy Trinity and the five Celtic crosses, representing the five wounds of Christ.


The design centers on the use of authentic materials of stone, concrete and wood. The main structural system is comprised of insulated-concrete-form (ICF) walls clad in a cultured and precast architectural stone.  Heavy timber trusses support a tongue-and-groove structural wood deck, creating a truly authentic appearance that will only improve with age.  


The building is serviced by a chilled water system which provides energy efficiency and the ability to expand as future buildings are added to the campus.  The system also allows the chiller to be located in a remote area of the site, thus reducing noise in the worship space. Noise is further reduced through the use of ICF wall construction and high-volume, low velocity air handling units.


From a mechanical point of view, one of the most impressive features of this building is the complete concealment of all utilities and services.  Every elevation of the building is a “front elevation”.  From any angle and at any location on or off the site, however a person views the structure, there are no visible compressors, vent stacks, or access equipment.


The interior of the building was “tuned” during the design process to ensure proper reverberation in the worship space.  The space is lively enough to accentuate the traditional hymns used during worship and also accommodates the spoken word with clarity.  Therefore, the sound system in the worship space is only used for sound reinforcement.


Other authentic historical accommodations include a tower with bells cast by the Virden Company and a choir loft designed to accept a re-built tracker organ which was purchased from an historical Church in New England.  All windows in the worship space are designed to accept stained glass and two windows, designed and fabricated by J. Wipple in England, have been installed.


The design ultimately constructed was born out of a collaborative effort between the architect and his team, the clergy, parishioners and craftsmen.  The design phase lasted nearly three years and included hundreds of meetings with the user groups to ensure that the core mission of each part of the Church was being met.  The process also included input from craftsmen in specific areas including furnishings, stone carving, millwork, stained glass, and acoustics.