At a Glance
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- July 2005
- Total Size
- 15,000 sf
- Thermomass Products
- System NC
- Featured Partner
- Seretta Construction
Insulated tilt panels were the answer for this growing congregation’s desire for a space that was historically accurate, energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Honoring Captain St. Sarkis, one of the most beloved saints among the Armenian nation, St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church was a longtime dream of Charlotte’s fast-growing Armenian community.
When planning began, the church’s congregation desired a building that combined old-world aesthetics with cost-effective construction. Up to the challenge was architect Glen R. Stephens of SAA Architecture LLC (SAA). With over thirty years of experience, SAA has a long history of designing buildings that are functional, striking, and innovative.
Because of tight budgets and daily use of the facility, energy efficiency was crucial to SAA’s design. Additionally, the church would be a place of fellowship, introspection and education, so comfort and serenity would be of prime importance. Site-cast tilt-up sandwich panels insulated with the Thermomass insulation products, proved to be the perfect solution for these complex issues.
“As we explored Thermomass and its products, we soon discovered it was a perfect application. Churches face long periods with limited hours of operation interspersed with sudden periods of high occupancy,” says Stephens. “Building codes mandate high quantities of outside air when these spaces are occupied, and high-capacity HVAC systems are costly to operate.”
Heating/cooling sequencing needs were met using highly-efficient sandwich walls insulated with Thermomass System NC, virtually eliminating energy transfer through the building envelope, and thereby reducing the amount of HVAC equipment used to maintain a comfortable interior environment.
“Combining CO sensing technology, limited thermal bridging, and the thermal storage performance of Thermomass systems; we are able to design large sanctuary and fellowship spaces that are extraordinarily efficient to heat and cool,” says Stephens. “Limiting energy expenses is important and only growing more so as energy costs are rapidly trending upward.”
With a church history spanning seventeen centuries, the congregation wanted an appropriate look for the new building, but they also had a strict budget to maintain. Actual stone would have doubled the cost of construction, and an EIFS solution would not have provided the desired durability. Fortunately, Thermomass walls can be built with a variety of textures and finishes.
For the exterior, Seretta Construction detailed and colored the wall panels to resemble tuffa, a volcanic stone native to the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. For the interior, SAA exposed the concrete wall as a finished surface. “Concrete is very durable and can create interesting acoustical conditions for churches looking for slightly reverberant spaces,” says Stephens”.
In the end, the church’s congregation was happy with the project’s outcome, and the people of Thermomass were equally pleased to work with outstanding partners to help this Charlotte community realize their dreams.