Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Charleston, WV
Full interior renewal for the Co-Basilica’s anniversary year, including a design assist to reconfigure the worship space and coordinate trades to increase both beauty and functionality.
After many years of discussion, Rambusch was commissioned during Sacred Heart’s anniversary year to undertake a much-needed renewal to the interior, furnishings and lighting. Of the interior, new stone furnishings were created, which included an ambo, altar and cathedra to emphasize the importance of the rituals taking place within the Basilica Co-Cathedral. The old reredos was maintained, for it was being used as the altar of repose.
Rambusch designed and installed a new floor in the nave, featuring a marble inlay Diocesan coat-of-arms as the defining emblem at the head of the main center aisle. The original font was moved to the entrance of the Basilica to balance the arrangement. New marble flooring in the sanctuary, along with adjustments to the flanking sacristy and cry room allowed for more gracious movement, as well as providing a functional space for diocesan gatherings. The sanctuary was expanded slightly so that the altar could move closer to the congregation.
Additional LED accent lights supplement the historic lighting system, and the original lanterns are retrofitted with individually circuited LEDs to produce downlight and traditional glow. A highly flexible, multi-channel dimmer program controls the system, and the dimmer includes pre-programmed scene settings that are referenced at the touch of a button. A new sound system is the second support system for the congregation, encouraging active participation by the assembly.
Finally, the original pews are refinished and arranged throughout in multiple sizes to reclaim space, all made more beautiful with the return of two original sculptures to the Basilica’s sanctuary walls. Standing on corbels, they are illuminated and surrounded by painted niches.