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Avondale, Pennsylvania


The site for St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Church is an expansive, rural meadow property along Gap-Newport Pike in New Garden Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The parish had outgrown the existing church/parish hall, and the rectory, offices, and classrooms were housed in temporary facilities. The new church complex is positioned on the eastern end of the site in an area of a gentle slope. A parking lot for 276 cars is provided with a drop-off area at the entry plaza and a covered drop-off at the office wing. The church exterior is of natural stone, with stucco for the clerestory, classroom wing, and offices.

A significant compositional element for the exterior is the integration of eight, tall and narrow restored stained glass windows that were acquired from another church. The entry plaza has a labyrinth made of concrete pavers. A covered entry leads to a gathering space which is the hub of the entire building. The worship space has flexible seating for approximately 700 persons. The blessed sacrament chapel is an open structure located next to the sanctuary platform. Directly off the gathering space are the church, the vesting sacristy, hospitality rooms, restrooms, and offices. Phase I of the project includes parish offices. Phase II includes a classroom wing for religious education and a courtyard with sculptural Stations of the Cross.

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