St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

7007 109 Street, Edmonton

Designed by: Eugene Oleshky

St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Church is an excellent example of modern architecture through its use of precast and cast-in-place concrete structure, with the rectilinear massing and dome features characteristic of Ukrainian churches. The exposed concrete structure implements the architect’s intentions for prospect and refuge, wherein the 3 ft. colonnade encircling the church becomes a magnificently proportioned porch from the the street. As well, the church campus plays a significant role of informing community presence through the relationships of church, community hall, manse with administration office, and seniors’ housing development adjacent.

The church was built as a Centennial project - replacing a former army-surplus store with the church, monastery and cultural centre over an entire city block. The overall building project played a huge role in influencing and supporting Edmonton’s Ukrainian community, providing more than 23,000 sq. ft. of space for children’s classes, youth meetings, a library, seniors’ lounge, cooking facilities, auditorium, and private quarters for church priests. The church itself can accommodate 1,200 parishioners.

There is extensive use of precast concrete elements in the design of church. This is evident in  the expression of structural form, decorative concrete panels, and use of precast concrete design elements framing two-storey window boxes to the concrete columns flank the exterior of the church. The precast columns flanking the exterior and structural elements are expressive and a progressive building technology for their time.

The use of finely-textured surface at circulation level, accompanied bythe exterior security lighting near exits, creates a very warm glow before entering the sanctuary at dusk. The effect  created by the colored mosaic tiles at circulation level is affected by the colour of light - white-washed in natural sunlight, golden in exterior lighting. 

Perhaps most noteworthy, however, is the golden dome which rises 90 feet above the floor. It is made of lightweight concrete and set in place in “orange peel” slab segments. The underside of the dome is finished in white plaster and asbestos. The exterior is covered in a golden plastic coating - rendering it virtually maintenance-free.

Edmonton’s “Sunday Modernism” – Modernist Churches in the Post-War Era - Edmonton City as Museum Project

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Era: The Post-War Years
Themes: Religion
Cultural Groups:
Area: Southwest

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