We look to the past for guidance and propose only a slight course adjustment. The plan of the existing St. Stephens church engages in a dialogue with the insertion of a new border - a circular collonade. This edge demarcates both old and new in its construction and reference to monuments past. The question of boundary, of what is allowed in and what is not, is powerful and lies at the very heart of architectural history. The primitive hut was humankind’s first attempt to establish this boundary and in doing so prove dominion over the forces of nature.
Our edge however, is not hard but permeable - allowing for the creation of a space within a space (a dome within a dome) that can house a new public arena for communion, contemplation, and play. We hope that it is perhaps a modern allegory for the role of the border. Entry into the dome is shifted into the center of the space where one now emerges on axis with the sky.
The niche, which traditionally held decorative forms is liberated and its prior inhabitants transformed into program catalyzers (seating, fog, climbing wall, etc.) No longer bound by the periphery these forms are scattered throughout the space - intermingling and intersecting with this new datum to create microcosms of space around them. It is this interaction between people and place that creates Architecture. This commons is a space of wonder, dreams, and sensual liberation.
Selected entry for the Burnham Prize 2016