St. Mark’s Coptic Church

Toronto, Ontario

Architects were asked to envision a state of the art design for a collection of buildings forming a Coptic community in the second ring of Toronto. The program totaled over 433,000 square feet of building to be realized in phases which included a cathedral, a small church, an elementary school, a museum, a community center and gym, residential apartments andan office building.

The ambition of the program for a ‘sublime expression of faith’ required a versatile strategy that could outline a pattern of construction that could adapt over the life of the project.

We suggested a weave of building types that could allow programs to migrate across building envelopes through courtyards and in shared programmatic spaces.

Weaving is an important craft in Coptic textiles and icons. Simple outlines build into complex interlocked figures. The traditional architecture appears s a mute monolith on the exterior but with a complex interior. Both weaving and the traditional building forms seemed like a powerful source of imagery for this new community.