St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church

Grand Prairie, Texas

St. Michael the Archangel was established as a mission church in 1984 in south Grand Prairie.  A 14.3 acre site was soon acquired and the first building consisting of a temporary worship space, classrooms and offices was completed in 1987. More classrooms and a fellowship space were added in 2004.  Located at a prominent intersection, the existing building, save for a cross atop the roof and some signs, gave few hints that it was a church.  Thus, in early 2017, St. Michael charged GFF with developing plans for a permanent worship space that fit the church’s fundraising capabilities and that was readily identifiable as a Catholic church.

To start, GFF located the new worship space in a grassy lawn in the middle of the parking field, deftly minimizing parking lot demolition and re-construction costs and reducing the need for additional building area since the existing narthex space was utilized.  Echoing demolished canopies, two covered walkways behind brick portals now gracefully lead congregants to the heart of the complex.  Next, at the southwest end of the building’s central axis and facing the intersection, GFF added a prominent “front door” – a façade complete with loggia, rose window, statue of St. Michael and bell tower.

A simple palette of complimentary-colored brick, cement plaster, cast stone and asphalt shingles tie the additions to the existing building.  Projecting brick courses and standing seam metal on the highest roofs add detail and contrast.

Two ten-foot tall Vierendeel trusses span the length of the Worship space, economically creating an offset in the roof for clerestory windows and a column-free space below to accommodate 1,000 seats in a fan-shaped arrangement.  A cupola above the altar platform punctuates the roof line at the northeast end of the central axis and admits more natural light.

Travertine tile, brick, fabric, and stained wood trim, ceiling and pews bring variety, warmth and consistency to the interior space along with a single flooring material throughout that links the additions to the renovated spaces.

Future plans call for a 250 seat chapel added in the remaining lawn between the worship addition and the parking lot.