Cudahy, California

Sagrado Corazon Church

For many years, the Sagrado Corazon parish, located in Cudahy, a blue-collar neighborhood south of Los Angeles, had gathered in a small, semi-outdoor, tin-roof chapel. Overcrowding and limited resources were a problem, as was the dirt parking lot where parishioners often found their vehicles stuck. Despite an initial improvement to the parking lot nine years ago, the parish’s roughly 1,400 registered members still found their facilities lacking, and the necessary funds for improvement hard to come by.

Keeping these factors in mind, Cuningham collaborated with the Sagrado Corazon parish to design a worship space that could fulfill both logistical and spiritual needs, while also being budget-conscious. The result: a 20,000-square-foot building that includes a 625-seat worship space, commercial kitchen, classrooms, and support/office spaces.

The design of the new space reflects the parishioners’ Mexican heritage, embracing a Spanish Revival style. An outdoor plaza adds to the space’s flexibility, accommodating outdoor events and overflow at highly attended services. Operable windows and fans provide natural ventilation and skylights bring in natural light to enhance a connection to the outdoors.

The finished project sets a new bar for creating cost-effective worship spaces in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. At every opportunity, Cuningham and the contractor looked for ways to minimize construction costs without cutting corners. Cuningham also created a space that was sustainably viable, meeting California energy regulations (similar to LEED ‘Silver’ rating). To help achieve this, designers utilized elements like mat-slab foundation system, solar-reflective roofing, large suspended fans for cooling, dual glazing with low-e coating, and computer-controlled lighting systems. These features help ensure that Sagrado Corazon y Santa Maria Guadalupe will have structural and cultural longevity.

Client: Sagrado Corazon Parish

Studio: Grow

Market: Worship

Size: 20,000 Square Feet

Scope: New Construction

Services: Architecture, Interior Design

Delivery Method: Design-Bid-Build