Faith & Form Religious Architecture Award - 2010

By Faith & Form
Published in Faith & Form

The 1928 Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception features a coffered ceiling, fluted scagliola columns, low relief floral panels, and abundant imagery of the gryphon (the church was built by Bishop James A. Griffin). The cathedral had been cleaned and painted only one time in the late 1950s. Deteriorated decoration was coated with dirt and candle soot. The columns had yellowed and large seams opened down each side. The goal was to restore the tired interior while enhancing the splendor of its original inspiration. First, renderings were developed to illustrate the proposed colors and patterns. Next, an onsite sample displayed the colors, glazes, gilding, tromp l’oeil patterns, and restored scagliola columns. Two coats
of varnish were removed from each column and loose scagliola was rejoined to the column hearts. Detergents were used to clean the ceiling, flat walls, and decorative plaster. Eighteen colored tones now enliven the cathedral’s walls, ceilings, and architectural elements. Glazing and over 9,000 square feet of 23-karat gold leaf applied to the relief panel, frieze, ceiling, and ornamentation create depth and dimension.
Installed in the ceiling coffers and specially fitted to accommodate down lights, the stenciled canvas panels unfold an elegant motif. Acoustical panels were strategically placed, then installed before applying the canvas panels. The 190 canvas panels with a nine-layer stencil of leaf, paints and lacquers, create a threedimensional rosette.

Jury Comments
The restoration of this cathedral interioris a tremendous undertaking. The result reveals the expertise and sensitivity of all the
designers, technicians, craftspeople, painters, gilders, and other artisans who collectively brought this interior back to its original
splendor. The new and restored surfaces and finishes seem to reflect God’s immanence

Restoration Artist
Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc.
2405 S. 162nd Street
New Berlin, WI 53151
262-786-3030 »
B. Gunar Gruenke and
Heidi Gruenke Emery (Project Team)
Graham & Hyde Architects, Inc.
Liturgical Consultant
Carol Frenning
Construction Manager
Harold O’Shea Builders
MEP Engineer
GHR Engineers and Associates, Inc.
Lighting Consultant
Randy Burkett Lighting Design
Acoustical Consultant
Threshold Acoustics, LLC
Terry Farmer Photography, Inc.

Faith & Form Religious Architecture Award - 2010 (PDF 395 Kb)

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