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St. Martin's Church Master Plan


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I only just recently saw this beautiful cathedral on Woodway near Sage the other day. It is absolutely beautiful! I didn't think they built stuff like this anymore.

Just wanted to share if you haven't seen it. I don't know how to post photos so here's a link to the website with a few interior photos.

http://www.stmartinsepiscopal.org/photos/archive-c.jpg

http://www.stmartinsepiscopal.org/2004-fol.htm

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Call me the thread resurrector.

I drive past this guy as often as possible. I have quite the collection of pictures taken of churches all over the world. A fascination of mine, and until seeing this church here in Houston, I thought my hobby would fall fallow.

Any other gems thrown my way would be appreciated. I like the methodist church next to the MFA aswell. Oh and the little squat church on W. Alabama near Hazard, with the square turret.

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Call me the thread resurrector.

I drive past this guy as often as possible. I have quite the collection of pictures taken of churches all over the world. A fascination of mine, and until seeing this church here in Houston, I thought my hobby would fall fallow.

Any other gems thrown my way would be appreciated. I like the methodist church next to the MFA aswell. Oh and the little squat church on W. Alabama near Hazard, with the square turret.

Resurrect away! I like that squat church on W Alabama too. The way it sits so close to the sidewalk really makes it fit well into the neighborhood. There's also a nice church on Rice at Greenbriar.

Some old Houston ones:

Central Christian

cfs21.jpg

First Baptist

fbc21.jpg

First Methodist

fmecb1.jpg

Synagogue

hcjs21.jpg

Second Pres.

spc21.jpg

Saint Pauls

spumcb1.jpg

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Wow thanks for the links on St. Josephs. I find this picture astounding.

joseph02.jpg

Very nice pics there of the old Houston churches. I think I may have to grab a bus day pass and wander the city some to take some photos.

As a side note, I'll be spending Christmas at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Sagrada%20Familia.jpg

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  • 7 months later...

I somehow missed the post in this thread of the old church pictures that's been here since December. Wow! Those are really great, and I had not seen most of them before. It's a shame most of them are gone now -- First Methodist is the only one of that group I know is still standing. Second Presbyterian is now Grace Presbyterian, out in the Westchase area, and the old downtown building is long gone. St. Paul's Methodist still exists; it was originally in Midtown but moved to its present location at the corner of Main and Binz across from the MFAH decades ago. And of course First Baptist is still around, in a modern building off the Katy Freeway that IMO looks more like an office building than a church from the outside. Does anyone know where that synagogue was, or where Central Christian was?

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My favorite big church - Koln Cathedral in Germany. Favorite little one is the chapel on the walk up from Burg Eltz also in Germany (I have a pic - need to post it).

Havent been to Florence or Istanbul but Hagia Sophia and the Duomo are tops on my list as well. Actually Ulm's cathedral in Germany is pretty damn impressive. 520 ft tall!!! Quite a view!!!

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Whatever

Sorry if you disagree, but you could offer something more than a juvenile dismaissal when you do it.

I think that the scale of St. Martin's is impressive. The details, however, are a bit overdone. I thought that, as a modern rendition of the Gothic style, some restraint might be used. The design is very busy, however.

The interior, though a grand expanse, is very cluttered at the east end. An organ and choir at the east end, behind an ornate faux Victorian roodscreen-sans rood-just seems a bit too much to me. Facing the choir towards the congregation also seems out of place in a traditional Episcopal church building.

If they wanted a "traditional" design, the organ and choir should not be the ultimate focal point in the room; iit should be the altar. And six candles on the screen behind the altar? Has there been a shift in St. Martin's eucharistic theology? Or was it just something else to throw in?

As I said before, the scale is impressive, and intention seemed right, but the final product seems to be a pastiche of "traditional" church design elements.

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Sorry if you disagree, but you could offer something more than a juvenile dismaissal when you do it.

I think that the scale of St. Martin's is impressive. The details, however, are a bit overdone. I thought that, as a modern rendition of the Gothic style, some restraint might be used. The design is very busy, however.

The interior, though a grand expanse, is very cluttered at the east end. An organ and choir at the east end, behind an ornate faux Victorian roodscreen-sans rood-just seems a bit too much to me. Facing the choir towards the congregation also seems out of place in a traditional Episcopal church building.

If they wanted a "traditional" design, the organ and choir should not be the ultimate focal point in the room; iit should be the altar. And six candles on the screen behind the altar? Has there been a shift in St. Martin's eucharistic theology? Or was it just something else to throw in?

As I said before, the scale is impressive, and intention seemed right, but the final product seems to be a pastiche of "traditional" church design elements.

Sorry, but your earlier post gave us nothing to agree or disagree with, just a pretentious and dare I say, juvenile, dismissal of the structure.

Your latest post, however, is very interesting and actually tells us something. I have not seen the building up close, so I can really neither agree nor disagree with anything you have written. But I find your observations very interesting and informative and they make me want to see the structure even more than before. One question, you complain that the design is very busy for a Gothic style. I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that the Gothic style is a very busy style. Do I have my styles mixed up?

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Sorry if you disagree, but you could offer something more than a juvenile dismaissal when you do it.

I think that the scale of St. Martin's is impressive. The details, however, are a bit overdone. I thought that, as a modern rendition of the Gothic style, some restraint might be used. The design is very busy, however.

The interior, though a grand expanse, is very cluttered at the east end. An organ and choir at the east end, behind an ornate faux Victorian roodscreen-sans rood-just seems a bit too much to me. Facing the choir towards the congregation also seems out of place in a traditional Episcopal church building.

If they wanted a "traditional" design, the organ and choir should not be the ultimate focal point in the room; iit should be the altar. And six candles on the screen behind the altar? Has there been a shift in St. Martin's eucharistic theology? Or was it just something else to throw in?

As I said before, the scale is impressive, and intention seemed right, but the final product seems to be a pastiche of "traditional" church design elements.

I just spent some time on St. Martin's website. They have a nice selection of pictures. It appears to be a VERY traditional Episcopal church layout. See, for example Christ Church Cathedral downtown and the National Cathedral in Washington DC, both of which also have the choir "facing" the congregation.

They also both have ornate rood screens.

I don't really understand your comment about the organ and choir being the ultimate focal point in the room. From the photos, it seems clear that the altar is indeed the ultimate focal point. In any event, the arrangement is VERY traditional and can be found in traditional gothic and episcopal churches around the world. I'm pretty sure I've seen the six candle thing many times as well, but I would imagine that was determined by someone with a firmer theological grounding than either you or I, or, for that matter, the architect.

Also, it appears to me to be a quite-restrained (modernized, if you will) rendition of the gothic style. It is positively austere compared to the older gothic cathedrals such as The National Cathedral, St. Patrick's in NYC, etc.

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For an understanding of the Gothic style, one must return to its origin, which was the abbey at Citeaux, home of the Cistercian movement. This movement, in response to the Cluniac school, emphasized clean, simple lines in structure which would emphasize the liturgy. Granted, the Victorian neo-Gothic thrust could be very ornate, but we are not talking about Victorian design in this case.

both of which also have the choir "facing" the congregation
Unlike St. Martin's, these examples feature collegiate seating -- the Choir may be in front of the congregation, but they do not face the congregation. Additionally, the historic example of a "quire" in gothic design places the choir stalls in between the nave and the sanctuary, where the high altar is (focal point). This tradition of design is not evident at St. Martin's, as it is in the architectural design of the National Cathedral (early Edwardian).

The screen at St. Martin's is neither a rood screen (as it does not have a rood), nor is it a quire screen (as it does not separate the nave from the chancel.

And by the way,

I would imagine that was determined by someone with a firmer theological grounding than either you or I

I have a degree in theology from Oxford University.

Edited by KewpieCleaners
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  • 3 weeks later...
:) Wow. I guess I live in my own little world, but didn't realize Houston had such grand places of worship. Well, not really; there are some beautiful churches here, but .... St. Martins and I guess it is the Hindu Place of Worship that they are building, are pretty impressive to me. Thanks for the pics, guys.
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Now that I've stopped laughing....

You offer up an interesting and, shall we say, unique history of the Gothic style.

Oh, and, by the way...

I am the King of Siam. ;-)

For an understanding of the Gothic style, one must return to its origin, which was the abbey at Citeaux, home of the Cistercian movement. This movement, in response to the Cluniac school, emphasized clean, simple lines in structure which would emphasize the liturgy. Granted, the Victorian neo-Gothic thrust could be very ornate, but we are not talking about Victorian design in this case.

Unlike St. Martin's, these examples feature collegiate seating -- the Choir may be in front of the congregation, but they do not face the congregation. Additionally, the historic example of a "quire" in gothic design places the choir stalls in between the nave and the sanctuary, where the high altar is (focal point). This tradition of design is not evident at St. Martin's, as it is in the architectural design of the National Cathedral (early Edwardian).

The screen at St. Martin's is neither a rood screen (as it does not have a rood), nor is it a quire screen (as it does not separate the nave from the chancel.

And by the way,

I have a degree in theology from Oxford University.

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With what part of my post do you disagree?

If you need further information about my theological studies, please send a PM.

No further information about your theological studies needed, thank you very much. But I do have a question for you. My (Anglican) church just went through the entire Easter season (sometimes referred to as Eastertide) with six candles on the alter (3 on each end). Are we all going to hell? ;-)

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Is anyone going to mention the MASSIVE new Catholic Co-Cathedral being built downtown by St. Joseph's?

Why would it need to be mentioned in a thread about St. Martin's? There is an entire multi-page thread about the new Catholic Co-Cathedral... and you don't have to look too far; it's immediately below this thread ;-)

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Are you familiar at all with the historic Addicks United Methodist near the intersection of I-10 and Hwy 6? I am trying to find out some info on this church for a wedding but can't find anything. It's just a small chapel, but exactly what I want. It's hard to find a church for a wedding these days that doesn't want to charge you $1000. Ridiculous...

Edited by Ginger1234
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  • 7 months later...
Are you familiar at all with the historic Addicks United Methodist near the intersection of I-10 and Hwy 6?

There's another one just like it -- identical -- on Hwy 6 between Longenbaugh and West Road. Right next to the Cyfair VFD station. A lot of weddings are held there too. And while we're on the subject, my son got married last year in the very beautiful Bear Creek United Methodist Church, and it cost considerably less than a thousand dollars. The sanctuary of this church is stunning.

Check it out on this link to its website: http://www.bearcreekumc.org/about-us/weddings/

Edited by FilioScotia
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A thing of beauty...especially the sanctuary!

I had to agree wholeheartedly with 20's Girl (topic starter)... I didn't think they built them like this any more!

Too bad it is in such a crowded/trafficky part of the city. Had it been built in a very large open area it would have attracted more attention. :P Need more like it.

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  • 11 years later...

St. Martin’s Episcopal breaks ground on $55 million expansion

https://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/280-st-martins-church/

 

Quote

There’ll be a new Children’s Ministry Building; a new Music Building; and a new Pastoral Care Center to house the growing clergy team. The 1959 church building will become Christ Chapel, a 200-seat place for baptisms, funerals, weddings and other services.

 

As part of the expansion project, two campus buildings will be razed: a chiller at the corner of Sage and Woodway; and a building that once housed a bar owned by Sonny Bono, of the 1970s singing duo Sonny and Cher. The youth, Levenson said, have no idea who Bono was.

 

Tellepsen Builders, the same firm that constructed the 1959 church and almost all the other buildings on the campus, will handle the latest round, too. Tad Tellepsen says that in 1952, his grandfather and grandmother, June and Howard Tellepsen, were founding members of the church. St. Martin’s, he notes, had the luck to be founded at the right place at the right time — in the west Houston neighborhood soon to become the home to many of Houston’s most affluent people, as the oil industry made the city a magnet for growth.

 

 

dEqmnmo.jpg

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EDIT: Story was originally broke by @ekdrm2d1 Friday, July 26th, 2019. If you want to go and read more about prior discussions about this site then you can find it in "Holy Places" subforum. This thread is to discuss the current renovations/master plan of the church.
 

 

**Original Post**

 

Didn't know this, but this is apparently the "biggest Episcopal church" in the United States. The more you know I guess. This going to be quite the extensive renovation/remodel of the entire facility.

 

Developer: St. Martin's Episcopal Church + Tellepsen

Architect: Jackson & Ryan Architects

Estimated Completion: 20-24 Months from July 2019 (so possibly Q3 2021)

Budget: $55,000,000

From Houston Business Journal:

 

Quote

St. Martin's Episcopal Church has officially started construction on its $55 million renovation and expansion project. Crews began working on the 15-acre site at 7171 Sage Road in Tanglewood on July 8, said the Rev. Russ Levenson, rector of St. Martin’s Church.

 

St. Martin’s, the largest Episcopal church in North America, drew international recognition last year during the funerals of two of its most prominent members — former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.
 

The city of Houston has already issued building permits for some $44.2 million in construction planned as part of its update effort. The project is expected to take between 20 and 24 months to complete, Levenson said.

 

The commercial building permits include $12.5 million to remodel and expand a chapel music building, $9.4 million for church sitework renovations and $9 million for renovations to the chapel building.

 

The church is also upgrading its educational facilities. The city has issued permits for $4.2 million to update the children’s education center, $2.3 million to remodel the education center and $528,524 to renovate the day care facility.

 

Additionally, the project includes updates to the church’s central heating and cooling system and other HVAC systems.

 

All of the permits were filed by Houston-based Tellepsen, which built the church in 1959. The designer for the project is Houston’s Jackson & Ryan Architects, which also designed the 1,200-seat building the church completed in 2004.

 

The project is being funded by the church's "Building for the Ages" capital campaign, which Levenson said has raised nearly enough to cover the entire project.

 

The expansion and renovation effort was driven by a need to serve a growing community, Levenson said. Since Levenson joined St. Martin’s in 2007, the congregation has grown from about 8,000 members to more than 9,500 members. On Sundays, up to 1,900 people attend services, depending on the time of the year. Counting all of the services throughout the week, up to 2,700 people are on campus, Levenson said.

 

“We have seen growth in every demographic age range since I have been here,” he said. “We feel very grateful that we continue to grow, and we want to continue to serve the community as it grows.”

 

All aspects of the project have made energy efficiency a priority, and the new buildings were designed to fit different needs within the community, Levenson said.

 

“The last thing we want is for big buildings to sit open and unused,” he said. “We want to have places here people can go to worship how they see fit.”

 

Images from article:

 

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Edited by Luminare
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On 7/29/2019 at 12:33 PM, ekdrm2d1 said:

Thread has already been made.

 

 

 

See I just don't visit those. Not to mention those are topics talking about something instead of development. Also saw there was a post about St. Anne. I don't think we need to combine them though since those are threads dedicated to those locations in their entirety.

 

What I will do is edit my posts at to reflect that you broke the story first and link back to those threads. Will work on that now.

Edited by Luminare
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On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 11:41 AM, Luminare said:

 

GYvhGYG.jpg

 

 

 

Why don't they put some stonework on that thing? I remember when this was first built, they had to trim some things out of the budget (I think it cost around $28 million), and one of the things mentioned was "eliminating stonework." So now that you have $55 million to spend, why not give it the stonework that it should have had originally? Instead of endless peripheral buildings like every other church in America.

 

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Just now, H-Town Man said:

 

Why don't they put some stonework on that thing? I remember when this was first built, they had to trim some things out of the budget (I think it cost around $28 million), and one of the things mentioned was "eliminating stonework." So now that you have $55 million to spend, why not give it the stonework that it should have had originally? Instead of endless peripheral buildings like every other church in America.

 

 

Link? Would like to see what was originally proposed before I can make an informed opinion on what is existing. I mean I have some base assumptions, but just want to know what they imagined before budget cuts.

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4 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

Link? Would like to see what was originally proposed before I can make an informed opinion on what is existing. I mean I have some base assumptions, but just want to know what they imagined before budget cuts.

 

I am remembering from 20 years ago; even if I had a link, it is likely dead. But if you doubt my memory, just look at the building. It desperately needs some stone, some detail. Here is a photo from the old thread. I think "Gothic Brutalism" would be the appropriate name for this architecture.

 

41864076.jpg

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