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John Norris
A Divine Restoration Award

John Norris in front of St. James by the Sea Church in La JollaFew San Diego houses of worship are as gracefully sited as St. James By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla, with its sweeping lawn and bell tower that's both seen and heard. Architect Louis Gill designed this church in two stages. The bell tower and chapel were completed in 1930, followed by the sanctuary 12 years later. Exterior restoration began with the bell tower, which was stabilized and reinforced for earthquake safety. The church's poured-in-place concrete walls needed extensive repairs. Wet sandblasting revealed the exterior's original color and, accordingly, the fresh coat of paint matches it. When the roof proved to be unsound, replica tiles were custom made and installed, and blended with a smattering of salvaged original tiles. Inside, new handmade floor tiles follow Gill's design specifications and layout in the sanctuary and chapel. None of these jobs could be considered simple, but restoration of the stained-glass windows was perhaps the most demanding. Each pane of colored glass was removed from its window frame, washed and carefully reset with new leading. The effect is inspirational, whether the windows are seen from the inside by daylight, or from outside at night.

Photo by Sandé Lollis

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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