Episcopal Seminary Visioning Process


As a pro bono service, the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest asked Franke : Franke to participate in a visioning exercise within a multidisciplinary team to identify key elements that should be addressed in a potential future Master Plan process.  The team was given wide latitude to develop a positive identity for the campus which was achieved through the proposed addition of student housing for Seminarians and their families, and visiting faculty, a study center and archive for historic documents that would be open to faculty and scholars, and a café and coffee house open to members of the Seminary and surrounding neighborhood residents.  With those building components as the initial primary program elements to be accommodated, the design team began to develop a plan that would create distinctive boundaries and gateways into the main campus, and re-center the campus around the existing chapel located at the critical intersection of Duval Street and Ratherview Place. 

Within the team, F:F proposed a series of significant site design and landscape architectural concepts that would begin to unify the disjointed campus that is spread over three city blocks including:  closure of Ratherview Place to vehicular traffic made possible because the Seminary owns all property fronting the single block-long street.  Once closed, conversion of the street into a pedestrian promenade would include one of several campus gateways with Ratherview serving as a dedicated ‘Via Dolorosa’ for processionals during various seasons of the church calendar.  The pedestrian way would include markers for the Stations of the Cross, an outdoor Baptismal font and water feature, and an open ‘pulpit’ from which visitors would have a birds eye view of Baptisms performed in the plaza below, and aspiring Seminarians could practice public oratory skills and preach the Gospel.  The disused and abused landscape between Ratherview and the existing chapel would be converted into an ADA accessible front door to the campus to be woven through a series of plaza spaces for worship, special events, and quiet contemplation, and ultimately lead to the entry of the renovated chapel.  The Duval Street frontage was envisioned as a re-imagined native landscape with terraced rain garden water elements, and a grand double stair that would allow physical access directly into a new lantern-like study space and archive, and the interior heart of the main campus which is punctuated by the historic Rather House at its geographic center and hilltop prospect within the campus grounds.