Architecture Tour Part 3 – The 21st Century

For several years the theme of Shadyside Church’s ministry was “Building Community” within the congregation, in Pittsburgh and in the world. In 2009, after years of prayer and planning, the church started construction to make its home more welcoming, a warmer place to gather with better facilities for learning and serving.  Renovations were complete in the Fall of 2010.

A recognizable entrance on Amberson Avenue invites visitors on weekdays.

The cloister courtyard within the new entrance has been transformed into a warm gathering space for fellowship, The Sharp Atrium. The exterior of the sanctuary apse makes an intriguing architectural feature.

The Chapel interior has a lovely new finish, consistent with its Romanesque Revival roots and the pews have been replaced with movable seating to add versatility to the space.

A new stairwell allows direct access to the Parish Hall from the Atrium & Sanctuary – in the process re-establishing an axis of circulation used by horse-drawn carriages arriving at the porte-cochere in the cloister.

The wainscoting and exquisite stone trim were unusual features when the Parish Hall doubled as a basketball court. The gym floor was refinished, new lighting a coffered ceiling and fireplace were added to make this a comfortable space for larger gatherings.

At the north end of the Parish Hall a stage was converted to the Hulme Room for meetings and classes. The windows duplicate those which formerly only lit the stage.

Other renovated spaces are used for Sunday School, the Nursery, Youth along with the Parlor and staff offices.

All of the renovations are within the existing footprint of the historic structure, so the familiar building continues to be an integral part of its neighborhood.

Blessed with this wonderful home by the foresight and generosity of preceding generations, the present congregation is looking ahead to make the renovations a gift to future Shadysiders and those they serve. And, while the architecture is precious and beloved, worship of the Triune Living God is central to everything at Shadyside Church.

About Tim Engleman

I am a semi-retired mechanical engineer with an interest in church architecture.
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