Parish House

Parish House – Transforming a Church Campus

For this project, we worked with the developer to strategize how to break up the existing assemblage of buildings to create the most value for the project. We developed plans side-by-side with the client for one new construction home on an open lot, one renovation of an existing home, and one conversion of an existing building (Parish House) into five single-family homes.

As interior demolition was completed and underlying conditions were exposed, we worked collaboratively with the client to leverage opportunities like exposed structure, materials, textures, and colors. As construction progressed, the Toner team collaborated with the client’s new partner to adjust the design to include the new partner’s metal- and woodworking skills.

The completed homes set sales records because of their unique blend of history and luxury.

Parish House, Fishtown (photo credit: Sam Oberter)

Defining a Clear Vision

The adaptive reuse of the parish house posed an immense challenge. The existing building contained a gymnasium in the basement, a multipurpose room and classrooms on the first floor, and a reception hall and kitchen on the second floor.

How would we take a large scale-community building and transform it into a comfortable, habitable, city-scaled dwelling?

Through design exploration, it was determined that the best course of action was to maintain the exterior shell of the building, and take advantage of the existing interior structure with its high ceilings and large windows, and to add a third floor to increase the project square footage.

The existing floor levels remained and the building was divided into narrow slices, each becoming a single-family home. These slices correspond to the grain of the surrounding row house neighborhood, a 16’-0” cadence. This provided five separate residences within the existing structure. In order to increase the dwelling space a stepped-back third floor was added, most of which would be nearly invisible from the street.

Building Section; the existing building profile is shown in red, and new construction is shown in gray

Building Diagram: The existing building profile is shown in red, and new construction is shown in gray.

Final Building Plans

Five Residences – Striking an elegant balance between old and new.

Project size: 15,000 sf
Program: adaptive reuse of a parish house into five custom residences; homes feature 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, finished basements and roof decks

“You have to be flexible on just about any project, but the road on this one was particularly winding,” said Ian Toner, Principal. “But that’s what made Parish House so interesting and successful! We discovered opportunities to enhance our client’s vision throughout the process – from historical ‘gems’ we uncovered in the demolition process to the unique wood and metal crafting abilities of our client’s new partner – all of which contributed to the final beauty and personality of these homes.”

The overall site is marked in blue; individual buildings in red.

Original footprint of the property

Parish House- Original Condition Corner View

Existing parish house from the north

The main floor, with exposed structure

Demoliton on the main floor exposed steel structure and original brickwork.

The back side of the building, after the church was razed

When another developer demolished the church, the connection between the church and the parish house was exposed.

Some great spatial opportunities here.

The interplay of brick, stone, concrete, steel, and wood gives the space its character.

The Transformation Takes Shape

Sean Kane Photography

The original stairway was restored.

Sean Kane Photography

Master Bedroom

Sean Kane Photography

Roof decks are set back for privacy, and are surrounded by green roofs.

Sean Kane Photography

The new kitchens feature exposed brick and custom trim that uses wood salvaged during demolition.

Sean Kane Photography

The custom sliding door on the Den is made from steel and original textured glass panels salvaged during demolition.

Sean Kane Photography

Living spaces have high ceilings and sculptural steel stairs.

Sean Kane Photography

Bathrooms feature custom vanities and wood detailing.

Sean Kane Photography

This kitchen uses salvaged wood, a restored pew from the church, and exposed stone for a rich material palette.

Sean Kane Photography

Large floor cutouts around the stairs create dramatic spaces.

Sean Kane Photography

A safe was found hidden under the stairs; it was left in place.

Sean Kane Photography

The original basement ceilings were 10′ high, and allowed for bright, spacious living areas.

Sean Kane Photography

Living spaces contain large windows and exposed stone walls.

Sean Kane Photography

The entry features custom stairs and a built-in “landing zone” for coats and shoes.

Machine Shop Boulangerie
Pre-fab Modular Residence