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AA 26001354

St. Mark's Coptic Canadian Village Master Plan
OUTLINE : St. Mark's Coptic Canadian Village Master Plan presents a formal new topography, yet maintains a scale and informality apropos for a village compound. Egyptian and Coptic cultural influences are evident in the architectural language, but it is more integrated than obvious. The Coptic Village is a harmonious union of interrelated buildings and exterior spaces. The spaces in the buildings and the exterior, are designated to meet a broad variety of needs ranging from private niches of quiet solitude to extensive exterior spaces that can accommodate special events such as an international pilgrimage to the Coptic Village.

The Plan utilizes simple forms related to Egypt and the Coptic Church in a modern fashion. Examples of these are the Pyramids, Cross, Nile River, color selection, building massing, and use of vaults.

In a village, all roads lead to the village centre, the square. In the St. Mark's Coptic Canadian Village, all paths lead to the magnificent Cathedral. It is the Village Square, the focal point for all major events. The Cathedral is like a great pyramid that can withstand both the elements and time. Viewing the Master Site Plan, one can see the Cross that embraces the Nave's dome. It marks the heart of the Village, the heartbeat of the community.

The Nile River runs from the southern Village border representing Lake Victoria, north through the Cathedral, ending at the museum. There, dramatic curvilinear forms along the northern museum walls represent the richness of the delta when the Nile reaches the Mediterranean Sea. They also symbolize the historical and cultural riches that are housed and displayed in the museum.

The color selection on the buildings consists mainly of oceanic turquoise, golden sand, and terra cotta red, paralleling those found in Egyptian art. The sand color in particular, contributes to the massiveness of buildings. They evoke images and forms that reflect structures found in ancient Egypt that were massive, to withstand environments of heat and wind. Archways utilized since the Roman times are merged together to form vaults that span distances. This is a modern version of venerable architecture language. The exterior form suggests the direction of circulation within. Archways, vaults, and other forms provide a natural progression throughout the Coptic Village experience.

Although the program requirements are large, the relationship among the collective buildings and their spaces are harmonious. The scale ranges from grand open spaces to quiet intimate spaces. Large open spaces such as those found south and west of the Cathedral provide great flexibility for planning and holding special events. It is easy to imagine receiving thousands of pilgrims from all over the world who would attend special celebration events at the St. Mark's Coptic Canadian Village. Conversely, small intimate spaces for gathering thoughts and praying are interspersed inside the buildings as well as in small quiet courtyards found throughout the compound.

The overall shape, color, and dynamics of the buildings, with 21st century technologies applied to materials like glass and steel, all focus inward, toward the Village Square, the centre, the Cathedral.