Situated on an undeveloped parcel immediately to the southwest of the landmarked St. Paul’s College campus, the new Paulist Fathers’ Residence and Mission House will serve as the Paulist priests’ downsized Washington home and seminary. Developed in conjunction with a development partner building a townhome community on the northern two-thirds of the Paulists’ original property, the new mission house scope is the culmination of an extensive programming exercise with the Paulists to identify and distill their future needs and most advantageous configuration of their facilities. The new residence and mission house responds to both the historical context of the landmark campus, the new townhome development, and the urban context of the existing townhomes and street grid to the south. Placement of the building is a result of extensive studies of building form, functional program, site topography, circulation patterns, and view sheds through and from the site.
The building configuration distinguishes the two-story residential wing from the public functions of the program, which are given a more individualized expression. An internal glazed circulation spine linking the two functions opens up to a gathering area and outdoor terrace communicating with the historic St. Paul’s College. By taking full advantage of the site topography, many functions (particularly parking) tuck down into the grade, allowing the two-story building to project a distinctive presence while not competing in scale with the historic complex at the crest of the hill beyond. Incorporating residential, mission, gathering and formation spaces in addition to the centerpiece chapel, the facility employs various passive sustainable design strategies as well as adaptations accommodating the Paulist’s higher-tech media-forward missions.