St. Luke the Evangelist

This 32,000 sf church and school assembles simple pragmatic forms per typical Midwest agrarian praxis, finishes the ensemble in forthright, durable materials, and integrates sustainable systems throughout.

From the north, the classrooms’ linear array establishes an extended datum that accentuates the gym and sanctuary volumes. The sanctuary, oriented to the east, honors Catholic traditions via light, procession, form, and materiality. A gothic-arch window with exterior wood louvers anchors the wall behind the altar. Clerestory windows usher in filtered daylight. Exposed structural frames provide cadence and measure.

Locally sourced, long-lived, and low maintenance materials impart a contemporary identity rooted in the vernacular. Primary exterior finishes include Weber Stone Co. Anamosa Limestone and A606-4 Corten weathering steel, installed as a rain screen and fabricated into solar shades. On the sanctuary roof, steel covers Henry Co. self-adhered water resistive air barrier membrane, Blue Skin VP160. Precast concrete sandwich panels are integrally colored, using limestone aggregate with medium sandblast. Wood is stained cedar and poplar. Floors are sealed concrete.

Both school and sanctuary minimize energy usage and maximize beneficial solar penetration. Classrooms’ angled ceilings diffuse northern daylight deep into the space while operable windows encourage air circulation and user control. Decentralized mechanical systems transport energy with fluid instead of air, maximizing efficiency and minimizing plenum space. Continuous insulation in the building envelope minimizes thermal bridging. As the net result of these intelligent passive and active strategies, the building is projected to utilize 45% less energy than comparable church and school buildings.

Project Type



Ankeny, Iowa