Christ Church, Sheffield, Massachusetts
We were both thrilled and terrified by the opportunity to build an addition to Christ Church in Sheffield, Mass. Thrilled because it’s a beautiful little church on a picturesque New England main street, and terrified because the church was designed by Henry Vaughn, the great British-trained ecclesiastical architect and we didn’t want to do anything that might diminish the power of Vaughn’s rustic little gem. The Church needed a community meeting room, a kitchen, restrooms, offices, and an outdoor gathering space, and as the congregation numbered only about a hundred, the budget was very tight. We felt that in order to defer to Vaughn’s building, our addition needed to echo the style and materials of the original. Knowing that we didn’t have the money for a stone building we elected to use stick-built construction with vertical board and batten siding and a small quantity of stone on the street side. Of course we then discovered that the original quarry for the stone had been closed decades ago but our enterprising mason found enough scraps and rubble at the old quarry to do the job. In the interior, we used rich, Puginesque colors to compensate for the necessarily economical detailing. And perhaps most importantly, we’re proud of the minimal disturbance to Henry Vaughn’s building, having simply turned an existing window into a door to make the connection between old and new.