Duncan G. Stroik, LLC, Architect

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Saint Augustine Church was designed by the office of Ralph Adams Cram and completed in 1951. However, it was never transformed into a cathedral when it became the seat of the diocese in 1971. The present bishop wanted it to become a worthy cathedral building for the 70th anniversary of the church and the 50th anniversary of the diocese. A new sanctuary was designed and the nave renovated to transform the building into a cathedral.

A new elevated predella with a marble and plaster baldachin draws attention to the altar and tabernacle. Through careful documentation, the installation team was able to reconstruct the original high altar from found pieces of marble in the cathedral combined with new matching pieces fabricated in Italy. A new bishop’s chair is located to the left side of the sanctuary with a marble backdrop. Balancing this cathedra on the opposite side of the sanctuary is an octagonal marble ambo with a stained mahogany sounding board.

Niches of Indiana Limestone at the sanctuary wall were re-constructed from historic drawings. Symbols relating to St. Augustine of Hippo are repeated throughout the design. The sanctuary walls are painted with symbols such as a shell and his monogram. The baldachin’s Carrara Corinthian column capitals are crowned with a heart aflame, a reference to the saint.

Jury Comments

The jury applauds the amount of research completed before the design of this restoration. There is a faithfulness to original materials and forms, which are well executed. It is delicious! It feels as though we have been transported back to the day the cathedral was originally completed.

Project Team Members

Duncan G. Stroik, Principal
Thomas D. Stroka, Project Architect
Caroline R. Cole, Project Architect
Forest E. Walton, Designer
Nicholas A. Sloan, Designer

Project Consultants

Miller-Davis Company, General Contractor
LKL Engineers, LTD, Structural Engineer
Matrix Consulting Engineers, M.E.P. Engineer
Stroik Lighting Design, Lighting Consultant
Threshold Acoustics, Acoustical Consultant
Francis Dzikowski, Francis Dzikowski Photography