Beauty From Tragedy St. Andrew's Episcopal Church   |   Amarillo, Texas   |   39,000 GSF

After a tragic fire, the community of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Amarillo, Texas, needed a new home for worship. Their treasured past and great hopes for the future came together in a church that pays homage to the past while creating the necessary space for building new memories and opportunities.

Through The Fire
Lovingly and sacrificially constructed in the 1920s, the original home of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church was indeed that, a home. The site of weddings, baptisms, and funerals, the country gothic structure held the heritage and memories of its worship community like a beloved family member. When it burned to the ground in 1996, the community feared that their history had burned with it.
Instead Of Ashes…
When the church chose Overland to plan and design their new facilities, their grief was still fresh. In times of tragedy, our first impulse is often to try to rebuild what was lost. However, the replica can never replace the original, and Overland hoped to bring new life and opportunity to the community. In the end, the congregation’s desire for a world-class pipe organ meant that the new church would require a far grander scale than the original, opening the door for a new chapter in the church’s life. “You can give them something new that inspires future generations to have the same kind of affection for what was lost,” said Principal in Charge Rick Archer.
A Crown Of Beauty
The design referenced the church building’s Gothic Revival predecessor and the English Anglican heritage of the denomination. At the same time, the challenge was to accommodate the massive new organ, and complement the church’s contemporary context. Overland developed a style they called “Palo Duro Gothic” referencing the sweeping canyon in the Texas Panhandle.

Geological formations of the canyon inspired the steeples and spires of the church, and the windows were designed to draw worshippers gaze out to the expanses of Texas’s “Big Sky Country.” Using material quarried from the surrounding area, the church maintains a connection to its context and history.

Several buildings make up the site, including one salvaged from the original complex. The buildings are organized around a central courtyard containing shady oaks, treasured by the community.

The crowning achievement of the sanctuary space is the acoustics, designed to showcase the organ. Organists from around the world have given recitals at the church, making it a cultural asset to the community, as well as a home for its congregation.