Flower Mound, Texas



























PROGRAM:    Saint Nicholas Episcopal Church was founded in 1999 at the Bishop Mason Retreat and Conference Center.  The building program called for an expansion of the existing Orand Chapel to increase seating plus the addition of restrooms, children's classrooms and a central gathering area.  The design challenge was to preserve the bucolic nature and identity of the Bishop Mason Center while creating a presence for the new Saint Nicholas that recognizes the transformation of the surrounding area from rural to suburban.

SITE CONDITIONS:    The site is located to the North of Lake Grapevine.  This location makes the property pleasant on the warmest of summer days.  The existing buildings of the Bishop Mason Retreat, located on the Northeast section of the site, can  be said to be in the Texas Regionalist architectural style.  Orand Chapel,  located roughly in the center of the property, is an exposed reinforced concrete structure whose architectural style can be categorized as brutalism.  These structures are organized on the site with different orientations.

BISHOP MASON:    Bishop C. Avery Mason, the person who originally founded the Bishop Mason Retreat in 1957, believed that the church should be actively engaged in the community.  He said that rather than sticking to ourselves, we should go out into the marketplace with confidence in the integrity of the Gospel message.  There in the marketplace we can have an influence on ideas and ethics and laws.  This idea of ministering in the marketplace was so important to Bishop Mason that he stipulated that his successor was to be ordained  in the Dallas Apparel Mart.  Bishop Davies was ultimately ordained in the Apparel Mart.

Bishop Mason's idea of ministering in the marketplace was rooted in Greek culture.  The Athenian Agora provided shelter against  rain and sun while permitting the movement of air so welcome in the summer.  Agoras were commonly found near religious sanctuaries where they became the principal place for social intercourse in the Greek City.  The linear form and continuous colonnade defined the edge of the city center.  Philosophers did most of their teaching and there were public banquets held in the shade of the colonnade.  Saint Paul preached in the Athenian Agora.  Agora meant gathering place, but came in time to mean "marketplace."  However,  the market aspect of the agora was not as important as a place to talk and converse.  It was a place of genuine human interaction.

DESIGN INTENT:    The concept for Saint Nicholas is to recall the colonnade form of the ancient Greek agora to define the entrance to Saint Nicholas and terminate the axis into the site from Peninsula Boulevard - which symbolizes the suburban growth around the site.  The intent is to bring Bishop Mason's ideas of ministering in the marketplace full circle - to restore the spirit of reasoned human discourse and thoughtful deliberation in a culture that demands instant responses.  The colonnade is a welcoming shelter, entryway, orientation point and outdoor banquet hall.  An exterior fireplace has been designed into the colonnade to provide warmth on cold days and for outdoor cooking.

The colonnade also provides the organization for the Master Plan for Saint Nicholas.

Please see Saint Nicholas's web site for more information about Saint  Nicholas Episcopal Church.

 Updated December 2015