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St. Mary’s Cathedral, Colorado Springs

Church of Magdalen, Wichita, Kansas

Religious Design D/P/S provides liturgical design consulting, interior design, landscape design, master planning and architectural services for religious projects in a collaborative and participatory relationship with our clients. We seek to design projects which exemplify how the built environment positively affects a person’s experiences of worship and devotion.

To create the unique space that a church building requires, we knit together the needs of the faith community, the liturgical norms of the church, and the unique character of the congregation to create a praiseworthy place for worship and devotion. Our clients dream of functional, beautiful buildings. Our passion is to help our clients realize

those dreams. Every project is a new opportunity to surpass expectations, respond to new technologies and create functional, comfortable and stimulating places. With a strong, clientfocused commitment, the firm’s multidisciplinary, rational approach results in a constant search for design excellence.

Santa Maria de la Vid Church Albuquerque, NM

Liturgical Design Consulting Process D/P/S uses a liturgical design consulting process that recognizes three basic phases of a church project – Preparation / Implementation / Transition. There are twelve steps within these three phases, each step corresponding to a key aspect in the life of a project.

Step 1: Process Planning The essence of the Process Planning step is a comprehensive understanding of where and how the parish intends to proceed with their project. We make sure that the right questions are asked and a process uniquely tailored to the parish is established.

In our experience projects succeed when there is a high level of participation by parishioners, helping them understand why decisions have been made. Parishioners play an advisory role with project decisions made by an informed committee and/or parish council rather than being derived from any arbitrary circumstance. Strategies for communication are incorporated into all of the services we provide. At the heart of our process is the belief that parishioners must first be grounded in prayer and desire spiritual growth.

Step 2: Education Early in a project it is important that parishioners know what the Church says about the design and planning of liturgical spaces. Often the Pastor or parish liturgist has provided on-going liturgical education to prepare parishioners for the project. We can offer a supplemental Catechetical Program tailored to the parish. Parishioners receive a presentation on what the Church says about the design & planning of worship and devotional spaces and chance to reflect on key theological questions.

D/P/S works with each parish to determine what services within these steps will be part of the Liturgical Design Consulting Agreement. A general description of the phases and the steps within each phase follows:

Preparation The Preparation Phase is initiated when the parish starts along a path to change some or part of their place of worship. During this phase we support the parish in developing a worthy vision, from initial visualization through schematic design. Some of these steps may have already been achieved by the parish before we are hired to join the project. Whenever we become part of the professional team, we are committed to achieve and support the project vision.

Step 3: Liturgical Programming In every project the parish must communicate to the architect what they want to build. While this sounds obvious, there is often too little information or it comes too late for the architect to achieve the best result with the funds available. To offset this trend, we facilitate workshop sessions to thoroughly examine the liturgical aspects of the project and produce a document that provides detailed liturgical requirements for the design of the facility, a liturgical program. The Liturgical Program provides documentation for all the liturgical elements of the project. The Liturgical Program provides a record of what is desired and serves as a reference throughout the design process.

Step 4: Master Planning / Schematic Design

After the preliminary planning, education and programming steps the architect and liturgical design consultant start putting ideas onto paper. Some parishes have a master plan for their campus; many do not! Even if one is currently in place it is wise to contract with the architect to at least update the master plan. Through D/P/S’s experience with a variety of projects we make sure that the long-term needs of a parish are accommodated in a new or revised master plan. In the Schematic Design step, initial design drawings are produced. During this step we make sure that the liturgical arrangement of the worship and devotional spaces support the rites and rituals of the Church and meet the requirements of the Diocese. It is important to proceed carefully with this process because once a design has been established a parish will have to spend additional money to make any changes. Our services during the schematic design phase typically include a liturgical narrative, ritual diagrams and preliminary material selection. We also produce design drawings and guide specifications for the church furniture, furnishings and equipment. These drawings provide a quantitative and qualitative look at how the worship and devotional spaces function and are decorated. These drawings supplement the architect’s schematic design drawings which show the room arrangements, building massing and spatial configurations. The liturgical narrative is a description of the liturgical design. A proposed budget for liturgical furnishings and art is also provided at this step. Color rendered presentation drawings appropriate for fund-raising brochures are typically provided as an additional service.

Implementation The Implementation Phase is when the project moves from design into bidding. During this phase the architect and engineers are finishing the documents that will be used by contractors to construct the facility. The work of the liturgical design consultant during this time-frame is to ensure the project retains the vision conceived in the preparation phase. Our services are set-up to allow the parish the ability to make efficient and worthy decisions.

Step 5: Fund-Raising & Financial Commitments

It is our experience that a higher percentage of parishioners will support a project if fund-raising occurs after design. Therefore, we recommend that the parish implement a fund-raising campaign only after a design has been completed. The liturgical design consultant has less direct involvement during this time but will remain a resource to the parish during this phase, answering questions and giving advice as to how to proceed with the project. If requested, we can create highly polished perspective renderings and plan drawings to be used by the parish for their fundraising brochures. This step allows the design professionals and parish leaders an opportunity to evaluate if any changes to the plan need to be made because of fewer or greater funds have been raised.

Step 6: Design Development / Construction Documents

Our services during the design development phase include continued input concerning interior finishes, liturgical furniture, and liturgical art. As an added service, D/P/S will review the local architect’s plans and specifications at the completion of this step. This service is provided so that the project has every opportunity to achieve the vision and goals of the project. Once the design development plans are approved by the parish we join the architect in the construction document phase. Final drawings and specifications for liturgical furniture and appointments are completed during this step. During this step we provide periodic reviews of the architect’s documents, so as to have a greater guarantee that the project will contain everything needed.

Step 7: Selecting Artists

Artists should be selected and on board prior to start of construction. With the approval of the parish leadership, we initiate the search for artists and artisans. Some artist, such as a stained glass artist, may work independent of the liturgical design consultant or architect. In contrast, artisans may work with the liturgical design consultant in the fabrication of liturgical furniture. Once artists and artisans are under contract, we assist in the coordination and integration of their work into the project.

Step 8: Bidding & Negotiation

After the plans and specifications are completed the project is distributed to contractors for bidding. Whether the contractor has been pre-selected or will be selected through a competitive bid process, a final bidding occurs. During this step we collect and tabulate the final pricing for the liturgical furniture and art. This affords the parish leadership knowledge of these prices before construction starts. Most Dioceses require pre-construction approval prior to the start of construction. If requested we can provide a presentation to the diocesan building and property committee regarding the liturgical design.

St. Francis of Assisi, San Antonio, Texas

Transition In the Transition Phase the project moves from paper to reality. This is a time that the parish transitions from their existing worship space to the new or renovated worship space. This phase includes completion of the vision established months before and learning how to use the new setting and rejoicing in the creation of a new space. The liturgical design consultant continues to be both advisor and source of inspiration during this phase. Our services ease construction burdens and celebrate achieved milestones.

Step 9: Construction

Construction is a time of change for a parish. It is also a time of great anticipation and excitement. During this step we coordinate fabrication and final installations of work by artists and artisans. We also review pertinent construction drawings for integration of special requirements such as stained glass, sound equipment, and/or plumbing for baptismal fonts. Visits to the construction site are made to view the installations of art, interior finishes, and liturgical furniture as they proceed. Our services also include final material selections, finalizing artist agreements, reviewing shop drawings that are related to our liturgical design documents, and coordination of artist and artisan schedules.

Step 10: Leave Taking / Ministry Training

Parishioners need an opportunity to say good-bye and acknowledge memories at their previous worship space. At the same time parishioners should be led to be thankful for the new space and look forward to their future experiences in the new worship space. If the current worship space is to be renovated, a leave-taking ritual should occur just before renovation begins. If desired, we assist the parish in developing rituals for leaving the current worship space, taking existing art to the new space and final closing of the doors. Every new worship space will be unfamiliar to the ministers who will serve in that space. To help these ministers be prepared for their tasks we offer a weekend ministry training session about one month before completion of construction. We also provide a final liturgical narrative describing all the liturgical aspects of the church for use in the dedication and publicity of the church building.

Step 12: Aftercare

Every new worship space has a few unexpected characteristics. If requested by the parish we attend services 3-11 months after dedication to evaluate how things are going with regard to the use of the new space. This visit can coincide with a follow-up review by the sound system supplier and acoustician, so that any issues related to acoustics can be analyzed at the same time. Of course, we always remain available to support the parish in the use of their new or renovated worship space.

Step 11: Dedication

For this special event in the life of a parish, we offer assistance in the planning and implementation of this wonderful dedication rite. Most Dioceses offer the basic blue-print of the rite, which provides what the Bishop expects and what the parish should provide. Our support is to offer suggestions regarding movement and liturgical actions during the rite so that this event highlights the worthy nature of the new worship space. Santa Maria de la Vid Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico

“ Your ability to work with us to draw from us our wants and wishes, to mesh that with current church liturgy and diocesan requirements, all within an austere budget was truly amazing” Craig Rausch, Parish Council President












































Dekker/Perich/Sabatini D/P/S provides comprehensive architecture, interiors, planning, structural engineering and landscape architecture services to a variety of public and private clients. With decades of experience, our firm has successfully completed thousands of projects from multi-family housing to high-tech laboratories. With offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Amarillo, Texas; a diverse staff of licensed and progressive professionals and the latest available in technology, D/P/S is able to meet the specific needs of each of our clients.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM 7601 Jefferson NE, Suite 100 - Albuquerque, NM 87109 ph.505.761.9700 - fx.505.761.4222

LAS CRUCES, NM 3050 N. Roadrunner Parkway, Suite 4 - Las Cruces, NM ph.575.521.9700 - fx.575.521.2636

AMARILLO, TX 500 S. Taylor, Suite 750 - Amarillo, TX 79101 ph.806.376.8199 - fx.806.376.8189

For questions contact Robert Habiger

Liturgical Design