Sanctuary Restoration, St. James Episcopal Church

The first comprehensive renovation for an 1895 Gothic Revival Church in downtown Baton Rouge

With a legacy dating back to the 1840s, this enduring Gothic Revival church was constructed at its current location in 1895. The design team was retained by St. James Episcopal Church first to repair and waterproof the exterior following Hurricane Gustav. Focus soon turned to the interior for the first comprehensive renovation in the church’s history. Building assessments revealed deficiencies and deterioration, including water-damaged plasterwork, glaring fixtures, inconsistent humidity, and a nonexistent sprinkler system. Returning to church, the congregation notices immediately a brighter sanctuary with a uniform glow from historical pendant mounted fixtures replacing previous hot spots and glare. Other updates include new paint, plaster, and pews; and carpet runners rich in color and symbolism over the original wood floor, uncovered after decades. Acoustic adjustments clarify the spoken word, elevating song, and welcoming a state-of-the-art new pipe organ, for which we coordinated with Goulding & Wood. But equal care was taken with the hidden work: a new HVAC system, updated wiring, and a painted sprinkler system, features that extend the life of the church as a building and a body of people.

“People’s breath is taken away when they come in and see it. Everyone that walks in, the things that stand out are the floors, the ability to see the ceiling, which you could not do before, and how clean and crisp it looks.”

- Fr. Christopher Duncan


LocationBaton Rouge, LA

Area5,296 sf

Construction Cost$1.2 million

ClientSt. James Episcopal Church

ServicesArchitecture, Interior Design

Completion Date2021

Tipton Associates

Architecture Planning Interiors

449 Westmoreland Drive
Baton Rouge Louisiana 70806
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