Part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, La., St. George Catholic Church, Baton Rouge, was built in 1908 as a small wooden frame building. In 1960, a school was established at the site, and another facility was built to serve a dual purpose of a gymnasium and temporary church until a standalone church could be built.
Fifty-five years later, the church no longer could accommodate its 3,000 families, so church leaders hired GraceHebert Architects, Baton Rouge. According to GraceHebert Architects, it devised a plan to build a new church for the parish in a "welcoming and community oriented environment that would architecturally become a beacon for the Catholic faith community."
During 2015-16, a new 27,000-square-foot, $18 million church was constructed in the shape of a cross. The new church was built on a corner of the property and can seat 1,200 parishioners along with a new chapel for daily mass services that accommodates an additional 120 people.
Exterior courtyards were redesigned at the main and chapel entries to encourage community interaction. According to GraceHebert Architects: "The simple yet elegant design is a collage of transcendental Christian motifs veiled within the fabric of historical religious archetypes, the Gothic Arch."
During the conceptual phase, GraceHebert Architects selected Roofing Solutions LLC, Prairieville, La., to create a one-of-a-kind roofing solution that would work well with the church's unique design.
To accommodate St. George Catholic Church's Romanesque-style curves, Roofing Solutions custom-designed a diamond-shaped metal shingle roof system. But before work on the roof areas could begin, Roofing Solutions had to be sure its roofing solution would work on the building.
"The convex curvature required we model the building in Revit (building information modeling software) to make sure the aluminum tiles were going to be able to be installed," says Tupac de la Cruz, owner and operations manager for Roofing Solutions. "We had to build multiple mock-ups to achieve what we wanted to achieve. There were a lot of man-hours invested during the design process to ensure it would be what we all envisioned."
Satisfied the roof system design could be implemented successfully, in April 2016, Roofing Solutions began its on-site work on multiple roof areas.
Roof system one
The roof areas along the sides of the nave and transept consisted of an SBS polymer-modified bitumen membrane over a structurally sloped metal deck.
Roofing Solutions workers mechanically fastened one layer of 3-inch-thick H-Shield Flat Polyisocyanurate Insulation to the deck followed by 1/2-inch-thick Securock® cover boards. At the crickets, an additional three layers of 1/2-inch-thick Tapered H-Shield rigid insulation was added.
Using a torch, workers then applied ELASTOPHENE® Flam (SBS-modified bitumen base ply), SOPRALENE® Flam 180 FR GR (SBS-modified bitumen cap ply), SOPRALENE Flam 180 (flashing base ply) and SOPRA-LENE Flam 180 FR GR (flashing cap ply). In addition, workers installed a Bilco® 2- by 4-foot roof hatch, 0.032-inch pre-finished aluminum counterflashings and stainless-steel scuppers.
Roof system two
The covered walkway roof consisted of an SBS polymer-modified bitumen membrane over a flat metal deck.
Roofing Solutions workers mechanically fastened 3-inch-thick H-Shield Flat Polyisocyanurate Insulation, 1/4-inch-thick Tapered H-Shield rigid insulation as needed and 1/2-inch-thick Securock cover boards. At the crickets, a layer of 1/2-inch-thick Tapered H-Shield rigid insulation was added.
Using a torch, workers then applied ELASTOPHENE Flam (base ply), SOPRALENE Flam 180 FR GR (cap ply), SOPRALENE Flam 180 (flashing base ply) and SOPRALENE Flam 180 FR GR (flashing cap ply). In addition, workers installed 0.040-inch pre-finished aluminum gravel guard-style edge flashings.
Roof system three
The bell tower roof consisted of an SBS polymer-modified bitumen membrane over a concrete deck.
Roofing Solutions workers adhered 3-inch-thick H-Shield Flat Polyisocyanurate Insulation, 1/4-inch-thick Tapered H-Shield rigid insulation as needed and 1/2-inch-thick Securock cover boards to the deck.
Using a torch, workers then applied ELASTOPHENE Flam (base ply), SOPRALENE Flam 180 FR GR (cap ply), SOPRALENE Flam 180 (flashing base ply) and SOPRALENE Flam 180 FR GR (flashing cap ply). In addition, workers installed a Bilco 2- by 4-foot roof hatch and 0.040-inch pre-finished aluminum gravel guard-style edge flashings.
Roof system four
The main sanctuary and chapel roof areas consisted of more than 22,000 aluminum panels over a structurally sloped wood deck.
Roofing Solutions workers applied 3.2-inch-thick H-Shield NB rigid roof insulation composite panels followed by 3/4-inch-thick plywood and LASTOBOND® SHIELD HT self-adhering underlayment. Next, workers fastened 0.032-inch-thick prefinished 18- by 18-inch, diamond-shaped aluminum flat-lock panels hand-fabricated by Roofing Solutions craftsmen to match the convex curvatures of the transept and nave.
The six-person sheet metal crew also fabricated and installed 0.032-inch-thick pre-finished aluminum gutters, downspouts, drip edge, ridge cap, valley pan and counterflashings.
In addition, Roofing Solutions workers installed PAC-CLAD 12-inch-wide by 1-inch-deep, 0.032-inch-thick aluminum Flush Wall Panels on the building's soffit.
For the duration of the project, workers used a fall-arrest system and worked from man-lifts and elevated equipment at certain areas.
A landmark for the city
Eight months later, in November 2016, Roofing Solutions completed its work on St. George Catholic Church. On March 5, 2017, the church held a dedication mass, and parishioners were welcomed to the community's new sanctuary.
"We appreciate GraceHebert Architects for bringing us into the project during the conceptual design phase and trusting us to build such a unique roof system," says de la Cruz. "The level of detail that was put into this project was out of the ordinary. It has become a landmark for the city."
St. George Catholic Church currently is working on its second phase of improvements to include additional meeting space, conference and ministry rooms, a nursery and administrative offices.
For exceptional work and ingenuity on St. George Catholic Church, Roofing Solutions received a 2018 Gold Circle Awards honorable mention by The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress in the Innovative Solutions (New construction) category.
Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.
Project name: St. George Catholic Church
Project location: Baton Rouge, La.
Project duration: April-November 2016
Roof system type: Aluminum
Roofing contractor: Roofing Solutions LLC, Prairieville, La.
Roofing manufacturers: ALUSYSTEMS LLC, Prairieville; Hunter Panels, Portland, Maine; PAC-CLAD, Elk Grove Village, Ill.; SOPREMA® Inc., Wadsworth, Ohio; The Bilco Co., New Haven, Conn.
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