People: Begrow & Brown
City: Bloomfield Township
Saint Regis Catholic Church is located at the intersection of Lincoln and Lahser Roads in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. A circular vehicle court and the church's main entrance are located at the southeast corner of the building and are accessed from Alex Kassab Boulevard. The church has a sweeping hyperbolic paraboloid roof with a central spire and very wide overhangs. The low, battered, dark brick walls are capped with a cast stone band. Above the stone band are stained-glass, clerestory windows that taper toward the building corners and give the appearance that the roof is hovering over the walls. The distinctly modern forms and "freshness of structure" of the church convey the Catholic Church's emphasis on "renewal" in the post Second Vatican Council years and contrast with the traditional design of the attached rectory. The roof form and interior ceiling planes are said to mimic the drape of a tent to remind worshippers that they are pilgrims on a journey. Originally clad with wood, the sanctuary ceiling was recently painted white to increase light levels within the space. The interior is arranged purposefully to bring worshippers as close as possible to the altar. The altar is free of ornamentation or embellishments so as not to distract from the Eucharistic celebration.
Several years prior to the establishment of Saint Regis Parish and construction of the church, the Saint Regis School and Chapel were founded as a mission of Holy Name Parish of Birmingham. Construction of the school was completed in August 1959, and masses were held in the school classrooms. The school was located on the eastern half of the church property. Following construction of the school, the rectory was built in 1963 by Pulte Homes.
Saint Regis was established as a parish on June 19, 1962, at the outset of the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council. The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) was assembled to address relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world, and its outcomes are said to have, in part, influenced the design of the parish's new church. The firm of Begrow and Brown was selected for the commission and the final drawings and specifications for the church were approved by the Archdiocese Building Commission in 1966. The initial bids for the project exceeded the established budget of $600,000, requiring several design changes. Cost saving measures included changing the manner in which the roof would be constructed and also changing the roof material from terne metal to cedar shingles. Despite these efforts, the project remained over budget and construction funding had to be increased by $75,000. Saint Regis Parish's new church was dedicated on Saturday, April 27, 1968, at which time the first mass was celebrated in the building.