St. Paul

St Paul Lutheran Church
Winterset, IA
12,000 SF
Completion date
April 2004

This pleasing contemporary design incorporates a 250-seat worship space with unique overflow capability into the adjoining gathering space. 

Master-planned for future growth, the building emphasizes community, fellowship and service in its inviting design. Its tower serves as a beacon to the surrounding Winterset community.   This rural church structure in a small Iowa community provides a quiet place for worship.  The forms are simple masses that become layered with varying textures and patterns of materials much like Midwestern granary structures and the crops they contain. The building in many ways is seen as another farm structure on the edge of town, forming a northwest anchor to the community. The building is layered, the building is textured, and the building is transparent in the evening when the glow and warmth of the interior spills out like the light of an Iowa barn in the evening with the farmer working inside.   The detailing of the building is simple and frugal. The large curved pivoting doors on the interior that can enlarge the worship space are made of stick pieces of steel and wood with common steel wheels and pivots. The roof structure and tower interior, because of their layering and organization, create the feeling of being in rural farm structures. Finally, the cross structure is made of natural corten steel and forms the downspout for the chapel tower roof. The red steel deposits as they run off the cross are returned back to the earth. The other materials on the exterior of the building are intended to remain natural and soften and weather with time like the agrarian structures dotting the landscape. 

Design Award
AIA Iowa Chapter
Design Award
Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture
Honor Design Award
AIA Central States Region