When it comes to the adaptive reuse of churches, especially those with historic easements, one thing really matters: windows. Just ask architect Jai Singh Khalsa, whose firm has been repurposing churches and other institutional buildings since 1980. “We're currently doing a number of buildings that belong to the archdiocese [of Boston],” says Khalsa. “Every church is a little different. The window pattern in old Catholic churches isn't as good for conversion. You need to put more holes in the building.”
That wasn't the case with Oxford House, a former Christian Science church in Newton, Mass., that's now home to 11 condominium apartments. By “finessing the plan within inches,” Khalsa was able to maintain the sanctuary's striking window pattern. The auditorium-style church now boasts parking in the basement, two levels of housing, and a mezzanine level. The apartments feature 16-foot ceilings with lofts up to 25-feet high. And one condo boasts an extra-special room: a two-story library that incorporates the steeple.
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Category: Adaptive reuse;
Architect: Khalsa Design, Somerville, Mass.;
Builder/Developer: World Realty + Development, Newton, Mass.