Saint Philip Minh Church Addition + Renovation

Client: Roman Catholic Parish of St. Philip Minh
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Size: 7,800sf
Stage: Completed 2017

Located on an expansive riverfront lot in Northeast Saint Boniface, Saint Philip Minh Church was originally built as a seminary school by Libling Michener and Associates (LM) in 1959, and then expanded upon by EJ Gaboury and Associates in 1961. The modern, open courtyard building has been in use by the Vietnamese Roman Catholic Church since 2005. Due to an increase in congregation size, the need for a larger worship space was identified, and the request to enclose the exterior 7,800 sf courtyard space was brought forward.

Many iterations of the courtyard conversion were explored throughout the design phase. Some of the major decisions included the following:

  • The roof support structure: Originally was proposed as timber frame, but then altered to glulam to match the existing exposed glulam beams running through the space and to maintain a visual gridline.
  • Fenestration: Clerestory window details were explored. A continuous Kalwall window system was determined to be the best option to accommodate existing roof structures and to provide diffuse lighting to the worship space.
  • Walls: The existing exterior brick that once enveloped the courtyard was restored to become the interior finish of the new worship space.

It was important for the client group that natural finishes be included throughout the worship space. The seating in the nave consists of custom solid wood pews which were specially made in New Holland, Pennsylvania. A custom made circular oak sanctuary stage is flanked by carefully designed alcoves in which hardwood sculptures of Mary and Joseph are placed. Tying all of the wood features together are the many hand-carved oak artifacts that are distributed throughout the space. These artifacts were crafted in Vietnam during a special curatorial trip taken by the church’s priest.

In addition to the worship space, a new church entrance and bell tower were also constructed. The tower houses a 600lb bell of the first church of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption parish which was cast in France in 1912 and was donated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Boniface. The Vietnamese inspired tower was designed in collaboration with members of the St Philip Minh expansion committee, and significant fundraising efforts were undertaken to ensure this important feature could be completed in time for the grand re-opening which took place in Summer of 2017.

Saint Philip Minh Church Project Team
Principal Architect: Robert Wrublowsky
Managing Architect: Marty Kuilman
Intern Architect and Contract Administration: Aaron Simoes
Interior Designer: Heather Wallis
Senior Technician: Neil Laurel