St. Mary Church has been an iconic structure in DeKalb since 1901. For many years, the church has seen the need to improve the front stairs off of the main entry. There are often slip and fall incidents which have resulted in skinned knees and wounded pride. Concerned for their parishioners, the church asked Sharp Architects to develop a design that would be safer, within their budget, and in keeping with the historic grandeur of the building. We proposed a new stair which added additional risers, stretched the tread depth, and added an intermediate landing to flatten out the otherwise steep slope of the stairs. As part of the proposed design, new decorative handrails and guardrails will be incorporated while being sensitive to the historic architecture. The design also required a zoning variance since it encroached into the required front yard setback. The Planning and Zoning Commission recognized that the design improved safety and fit within the character of the historic neighborhood, thus unanimously approving it.
Client: St. Mary Catholic Church