Leroy Ali-Osman

Leroy Ali-Osman

Durham, NC, US


Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church

A 13,000 square foot new home for Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Creedmoor, NC.  The design is driven by the ideas of cleansing through baptism, divine illumination, and the witnessing and propagation of the Christian faith. The client required that the ritual of baptism be highlighted in the design of the building.  In response, the design team developed a diagram which places the baptismal pool in a location central to the site and with visual prominence from both within, and outside of the building.  The water of the baptismal pool extends into the landscape immediately in front of the building, where it becomes a reflecting pool.  This portion of the water terminates the public boardwalk and receives the steeple.

Daylight within the church is strategically controlled by the enclosure which is comprised primarily of translucent Kalwall and dark gray Equitone fiber cement panels.  The contrast in both the visual appearance, and the material properties of these two products is symbolic of balance.  The Kalwall serves as the enclosure for the most sacred spaces in the project, including the front of the baptismal pool and the clerestory of the sanctuary.  This material allows abundant yet diffuse daylight to fill the spaces, enhancing the experience of worship and the various activities which are performed within.  In addition to the materiality of the building enclosure, the orientation and shaping of the opaque walls and ceiling contribute to the accentuation of daylighting effects during the primary hours of service. 

Unobscured views to the outside of the building from within are limited in
order to minimize distraction from the inwardly focused activities, primarily
in the sanctuary.  While not abundant, the areas of transparent glass are located and scaled for maximum impact where they occur.  In keeping with the request
for the baptismal pool to be highly visible, its sides are bounded by vertical
expanses of curtainwall inset by decorative abstract geometric metal screens
which mark the importance of the ritual of baptism.  The same screens can also be found at the end of the flared walls in the sanctuary.  These openings provide views into the landscape as visitors circulate at the periphery of the worship hall, and on a clear day, allow light to penetrate the building illuminating the side walls of the sanctuary during service.  

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Creedmoor, NC, US
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Andre Johnson Architect