St. Kathryn's Church

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St. Anthony of Padua Parish occupies a site in Ambler, Pennsylvania, 16 miles north of Philadelphia. The church was designed with two separate but adjoining worship spaces. To meet project goals requiring both visibility and noise attenuation, the design team installed an exquisitely integrated NanaWall installation to separate the chapel and nave.

"The client parish, led by Pastor Stephen McHenry, needed a flexible solution,” recalls Ron Knabb, FARA, principal of The Knabb Partnership, in Berwyn, Pa. “It had to meet the demands of a large congregation with varying requirements for services and worship.”

Energy Efficient Space Management

The needs were varied, but all could benefit from the NanaWall approach. “Families coming to services would often need a place to keep and attend small children, but without feeling disconnected from the rest of the congregation,” says Knabb. “Then for holiday services, when there is the largest attendance, the church would need to accommodate a larger segment of the parish."

NanaWall's HSW65 Wood Framed Single Track Sliding System suited this use well. Designed for use in exterior applications, the system boasts high thermal performance. When closed, the small chapel is thermally separated from the main church interior, creating the desired small chapel. The result is that operating costs associated with power for heating and cooling are much lower than they would be otherwise.

When fully open, the chapel appears not to be separate at all from the main church space, and provides additional seating for the large turnout at Christmas, Easter and other major holiday services. "The panels stow away very neatly at one end," admires Buckingham, referring to the pocket arrangement used to hide the panels from view when open.

"We've since used another NanaWall system in a similar project," Buckingham explains. "The client had seen St. Kathryn's and fell in love with the design."

“The NanaWall system provides the needed insulative barrier, while the glass reinforces the connection between the smaller and larger spaces.”

Transparency, Aesthetics, Performance

NanaWall's wood-framed system was also able to achieve further hopes of the Parish and Diocese for the new church, beyond those of cost-reduction. These included aesthetic goals, in addition to the programmatic.

The panels provide excellent sound attenuation. The monumental glass panel system combines or separates multi-function spaces transparently, and has the ability to be modified to match the design needs of the space, making St. Anthony's a flexible, as well as attractive, worship space. The church at St. Anthony of Padua received the “Design of Merit” award from the Society of American Registered Architects at the Pennsylvania Council Professional Design Awards ceremony on September 7, 2006.

High-Performing Wood System

Furthermore, the high-performing wood framing looks entirely at-home in this cozy New England church. "NanaWall had enough available wood species to choose from that matching the church's interior aesthetic was not a problem," says Buckingham. The combination of flexibility, performance and beauty has served the Parish well since the new church was dedicated in 2000, and has even become a coveted architectural feature among representatives from visiting parishes.

As Buckingham mentioned, the firm has used NanaWall for a similar project, where the client had visited St. Kathryns.

Of working with NanaWall products and representatives, Buckingham adds, "We've also never had any installation problems of any significance.”

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