Holy Spirit Evangelical Lutheran Church

Charleston, SC

This classical church in a Lowcountry style was formed from the merger of two Charleston, SC congregations. The design of the exterior was inspired by famous churches in the Holy City, while the clean, light interior serves as both worship space and gallery for unique church artifacts. Numerous pieces of historic furniture were brought from the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church building, with priceless antique church furniture including the altar, baptismal font, lectern, reading desks, chancel chair, and piano. The church also has a broad collection of colorful banners and linens, and a restored organ from a historic church in Chicago.

During the design process, the architects led the church through a series of case studies and helped the congregation discover a clear vision for their new sanctuary. The church wanted the space to be worshipful, peaceful, reverent, simple, beautiful, and flooded with natural light. Case study exercises included a wide survey of traditional churches, potential treatments for the sanctuary ceiling, and various types of steeples. The resulting design is classic, with an elliptical barrel vault ceiling flowing seamlessly down into the walls and pilasters of the nave. A series of scallops over the tall arched windows of the nave created a series of smaller barrels which intersect with the main barrel vault.

As part of a bequest to the church, a new stained glass window was commissioned to be placed over the new 10’ tall red entry doors. This window is a representation of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and was inspired in part by the famous dove window designed by Bernini at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.