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HGC has been working with Christ Church Cathedral for some time now. With two phases of scope as well as working around regular church operations, it was no surprise that the large-scale renovation and project was going to move at a different pace. But with Christ Church Cathedral nearing completion, it is clear that the wait has been worth it.

See other places of worship HGC has worked on.

The renovation project was part of the church’s “Third Century Vision” project. May of 2017 marked the church’s 200th anniversary, and as they looked to the future, they knew their facilities needed to match the energy of their people. The Third Century Vision project involved renovations to three different spaces in Christ Church: The Centennial Chapel, Sycamore Commons, and the Nave.

Interior of Christ Church Cathedral

Part of this process involved the community’s investment into new organs for their worship spaces. With new organs comes the need for revised acoustics. HGC worked with Phillip Markwood Architects to remodel the 100-year-old Centennial Chapel into a sanctuary for a new Fisk pipe organ. The design for this remodel was challenging because the organ was not on site at the time of design or construction. The project team had to work closely together to ensure all issues were resolved ahead of time and the design met the size parameters and acoustical needs for the organ. In order to restore the historic structure, there was cleaning done to the masonry, the limestone walls, and the wood ceiling. The space was rededicated on May 20, 2018.

The Nave worship space was also renovated to prepare for the presence of a new Richards, Fowkes & Co. Opus 24 organ. Like the Centennial Chapel, these renovations had to be completed before the organ arrived. HGC worked closely with a professional acoustician, taking great care to achieve pique acoustics. This included installing diffusive sound panels throughout the space that keeps the sound from sticking in the corners of the room. The nave is the main worship space, and project logistics were planned around the community being able to continue their regular worship practice. This meant that all work had to be cleaned up and the space reorganized to facilitate service on a weekly basis.

Finally, the Sycamore Commons was transformed into a cathedral garden, a beautiful sanctuary for reflection. A large living wall hugs the perimeter, and a stunning stone labyrinth is available for walking meditation. The space was dedicated on Sunday, May 12, 2019, during a special congregational event, but there are still a few aspects that need input from the architect.

It has been an honor to work so closely with the people of Christ Church Cathedral, creating a space that nurtures their presence as a vibrant community in downtown Cincinnati.