Historic Church Additions & Renovations

Parker Architects has worked with numerous congregations in the challenging task of expanding and renovating their historic church buildings. The challenge is to be able to successfully add on without detracting from the original building. The following are three examples where we believe we have succeeded in meeting the challenge. The addition to St. John’s Anglican, Ancaster was approximately 3 times the area of the original so the challenge was to add this space in such a manner as to not overshadow the historic facility. Similarly, St. James Catholic, Okotoks required an addition of approximately 3 times the original as well as the original building had to be physically moved back from the busy highway and raised 6ft(1.8m) in order to be out of the local flood plain. Ralph Conner United in Canmore Alberta also needed to be moved to one side of the property in order to free up enough land for the addition. In order that the new wood siding of the addition would match that of the existing we found an old mill in B.C. that still had the dies that allowed them to cut the siding in exactly the same profile. The result is a smooth blend of the new and old.


St.James Catholic

St.Johns Anglican

Ralph Connor United





















2 Responses to Historic Church Renovations

  1. Is it possible to get ideas that I could present to our building committee, without commitment? My inquiry is purely unofficial, but I would like to have something more than my own rudimentary drawings before I suggest anything to the committee. Our church has agreed to start looking into a Sunday school addition, but our committee has only come up with one option, which hides the front of our beautiful, historical stone church. Many in the congregation do not like the option. I would like to provide some other ideas. The main problem is the church is land-locked by private property to the East(owner won’t sell), a county road to the N, cemetary almost immediately to the South. Our only option is to build to the West, which is the parking lot and the front of the church. Thanks for your reply, Debbie Kimball

    • Parker Architects says:

      Hi Debbie,

      It’s always difficult to figure out how best to add to an existing building, specially when there seems to be very little space to expand into. As I indicated in my earlier response, we would be happy to help you determine where the expansion might be located. I can certainly understand your concern with the expansion hiding the beautiful stone facade of the church but it should be possible to build it in such a way as to be respectful of that facade and hopefully result in an equally attractive appearance. When you look at the additions we’ve made to historic churches on our web site I think you will agree that we have been successful in blending the new with the old resulting in a harmonious new look rather than, as is seen with many church additions, an uncomfortable joining of two dissimilar buildings. If you can provide us with a site plan and zoning regulations (or name of municipality where we can get them) we would be able to provide you with some preliminary ideas of where an addition could be added. We would not expect any commitment from yourself or the church but would appreciate being considered for the design work if you felt our ideas were of value.

      David Parker

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