When Louisiana and Cajun styles marry and the talents of an architect and construction team seamlessly merge, the result is the impressive St. Pius Church in Lafayette, La. This structure, the first new church in Lafayette in 22 years, replaces a smaller space where many people stood during masses. Architect Corne-Lemaire Group, of Lafayette, and installer Delahoussaye Co. Inc., of Scott, La., understood the significance of this parish to the community and the importance of the design to the worship experience.
Curves are a core characteristic of the church, reflecting its traditional heritage French feel and Spanish and Italian influences. Flex-Ability Concepts’ Flex-C Arch and Flex-C Trac were used to create some of the curves throughout the church.
“Curves were used on ceilings, arches, doors and windows throughout,” said Wayne L. Corne, an architect with Corne-Lemaire Group. “The curves depict continuity, class and a free-flow form that defines the dynamic interior spaces within the church with its appropriate features of simple elegance.”
Corne-Lemaire Group was asked to give parishioners a traditional design; the church has a Romanesque cruciform floorplan with an atrium, nave, transepts and apse. It was important to use metal framing throughout the church, even for the curves, to obtain a fully fire-resistant classification.
“The church is a place of assembly, and non-combustible material is a mandatory necessity and owner's benefit,” Corne said. “Metal interior framing is used throughout for walls and ceilings. The only wood used is for the doors and support blocking for wall hung accessories. This building is designed to last centuries while obtaining a fire-resistant rating, minimizing insurance costs and creating low maintenance costs.”
Delahoussaye Co. installed: 20-gauge 3 5/8-inch Flex-C Trac (200 pieces); 20-gauge 2 1/2-inch Flex-C Arch (20 pieces); 20-gauge 3 5/8-inch Flex-C Arch (170 pieces); and 20-gauge 6-inch Flex-C Arch (100 pieces). The products were supplied by Interior Exterior Building Supply, Lafayette.
Flex-C Arch was used at the arched and circular windows and to create arches between the columns, as well as arched and circular windows. It can be seen over the main altar and above the altar in the Adoration Chapel. Large arches were created at the exterior and front entrances of the church and for curved 18-foot heads of three monumental wooden oil finished doors enclosures below the balcony. Flex-C Trac was used on the radius walls in the apse and music rooms. J.B. Mouton LLC, Lafayette, served as the general contractor.
Timing and scheduling were important to Delahoussaye Co. to stay ahead of other trades. Danny Delahoussaye, president of the company, commented, “The reasons we used Flex-Ability Concepts’ products are we can lock it in place before we install it and it was best for our application.” The Delahoussaye crew has used the products on previous projects, so Delahoussaye was well aware of the advantages.
Corne-Lemaire Group worked with Delahoussaye Co. to ensure dimensions and calculations were accurate for a quality installation and inspiring finished look. Corne noted, “It is beneficial for the architect to provide adequate profiles and dimensions to the contractor for layout and installation.”
He added: “Everything look great! The contractor had absolutely no problems with [the] products and the owner is completely satisfied with the results and the gorgeous appearance.”
The $19-million church opened in October 2017 and is 34,000 square feet with seating for 900 patrons. The space includes a chapel within the bell tower, children’s area, bride’s room, two cry rooms and restrooms. The atrium was designed to bring the community together as a place to gather, talk, celebrate and worship.