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Saint Sarkis Church Façade

Traditional Armenian Art Meets Digital Printing

David Hotson Architect

Saint Sarkis Church Façade
By Elisa Grossi -

The façade of the Saint Sarkis Armenian Church in Carrollton, Texas, is a memorial that looks back at the past but also forward to the future. The floral ceramic pattern on the front of the building is made up of
1.5 million pixels, one for each of the victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915. David Hotson Archtect’s project takes its cue from the ancient church of Saint Hripsime, near Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, the world’s first Christian nation. The façade – shaped like an Armenian cross, “the Tree of Life” – is clad in ceramic slabs printed with myriad geometrical and botanical patterns, produced by ceramic tile manufacturer Fiandre Architectural Surfaces, a brand of Iris Ceramica Group, renowned for its mix of technological innovation and craft traditions.

The first stone of the Saint Sarkis was laid in 2018, exactly 14 centuries after the construction of the original church of Saint Hripsime – completed in 618 AD – and inaugurated on 24 April last, the date on which every year the Armenian community remembers those who lost their lives in the genocide. Not only a church but also a community center, the focus of the whole project is the commemorative façade. The monolithic grey complex recalling Armenia’s ancient monochrome stone churches is surrounded by multicolored cypress and magnolia trees, reminiscent of the luxuriant vegetation around its monasteries. Inside, the series of plastered vaults – again modeled on the original Saint Hripsime church – is inundated with light.

The west front of the church reinterprets traditional Armenian architecture and art with cutting-edge digital design and manufacturing technologies that create a series of visual scales nested one inside the other – a phenomenon visitors only discover once they come closer and see that the overall pattern is in fact made up of a series of different...

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