St. Patrick Catholic Church

Following a devastating tornado in the spring of 2006 St. Patrick was faced with rebuilding. The new church is located on a 14-acre site on the east side of Iowa City. The site is located within a single-family residential area with an adjacent city square to the south. This city square acts as a traffic-calming device and provides a welcoming and uninterrupted view of the building’s primary façade.

The structure utilizes an early Christian, Romanesque aesthetic. Materials include stone, brick and a standing seam metal roof. Visitors pass through a cloistered entry plaza, which incorporates a covered walk on three sides. The bell tower defines the entry plaza at the southwest corner.

The 1000-seat sanctuary defines the core of the building with a 130-seat daily mass chapel located at the northwest corner of the sanctuary. Visitors pass the baptistery upon entering the sanctuary – an intentional symbolism that emphasizes the importance of the sacrament. Extensive sound modeling assured the sanctuary environment has superior acoustics.

The west portion of the building is dedicated to administrative, music and nursery functions. A 300-seat social hall, classrooms and gymnasium are located in the two-story east wing. The gentle eastward slope of the site allows these two-story components to rest into the hillside, reducing the building’s east profile.

The project site provides a formal prayer garden north of the building. Parking lots to the west, north and east provide parking for 300 vehicles.

Project Type



Iowa City, Iowa


52,000 SF



LEED Rating