CARROLLTON, Texas — The new Saint Sarkis Armenian Church, 4421 Charles Street, in Carrollton, Texas, designed by award-winning New York architect David Hotson, AIA, will be consecrated on April 23, 2022. The church will celebrate its first Sunday Service on April 24, 2022, the annual date on which the international Armenian Diaspora memorializes the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The new church building is modeled on the ancient Armenian church of Saint Hripsime which still stands near Yerevan. The connection of the new church building to this ancient prototype provides a link to Armenia’s legacy as the world’s first Christian nation, having adopted Christianity in 301 AD, and reflects the faith and endurance of the Armenian people through 14 centuries of challenge and upheaval. The church of Saint Hripsime was completed in 618 AD and the cornerstone of Saint Sarkis was laid exactly 14 centuries later in 2018.
Working with long-time collaborator architect Stepan Terzyan, Hotson developed a design that looks forward as well as backward, marrying Armenia’s ancient architectural and artistic traditions with contemporary digitally-driven design and fabrication technologies. The total interior floor area for the entire complex is about 32,000 square feet.
The most striking of these contemporary innovations is the west façade of the church, which serves as a subtle but powerful memorial to the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide.
The façade depicts a traditional Armenian cross or “tree of life” composed of interwoven botanical and geometrical motifs drawn from Armenian art. As a visitor approaches the façade, the overall façade design dissolves into 1.5 million tiny icons or pixels, derived from the circular emblems that recur throughout the Armenian artistic tradition. The individual pixels were generated by a computer script to make every pixel unique. Like 1.5 million snowflakes, each individual pixel represents one of the 1.5 million individuals who perished in the 1915 Armenian genocide, including members of the families that belong to the Saint Sarkis congregation. The scale of the individual icons spreading across the entire building façade provides a visceral encounter with the scale of this historical atrocity.
To implement the façade, Hotson collaborated closely with Fiandre, the innovative architectural surfaces manufacturer that has developed the revolutionary DYS (Design Your Slab) system that allows exterior grade, UV-resistant custom printing at extremely fine resolution on Fiandre’s large-format porcelain rain screen panel materials. Fiandre fabricated the façade panels in their Italian factory to the exact pixel modules required by the façade and printed the intricate design through a proprietary process. The façade was installed by Graniti Vicentia Façades utilizing the proprietary ventilated façade system of Granitech.