St. Mary’s on the Highlands Episcopal Church
Renewing the oldest church in Birmingham’s Five Points South historic district with character and connectivity
The 1892 sanctuary and Drennen House parlor building make St. Mary’s on the Highlands one of Birmingham’s best examples of English Revival ecclesiastical architecture, but its steeply sloping urban site made access to the campus and circulation between essential levels and spaces of its disconnected buildings difficult. Connectivity and character were at the heart of this 52,000sf renovation and addition, with major focus on a new, column-free parish hall and rehabilitation of outdated facilities and systems. Solutions prioritized renovation of existing space over demolition. New buildings clad in the style of the old church bring modern functionality while maintaining connection with the past. The new parish hall steps back to avoid traffic and defer to Drennen House, with a safe, covered campus entry and motor court that is also used for outdoor worship and activities. A new accessible circulation system connects new spaces to the existing sanctuary. Education and administrative spaces were reprogrammed, modernized, and expanded.
Programming | Space Planning | Architecture | Interior Design | FF&E
Hugh Thornton AIA | firstname.lastname@example.org
“The new Parish Hall is unbelievable … Wow!”