St. Pius V Catholic Church

Services provided: interior paint scheme design,
overall liturgical design plan


St. Pius V is an urban parish community comprised of native-born Americans and a substantial immigrant population. The Saint Louis, MO church is built in the Romanesque architectural style with a large apse mosaic and beautiful stained glass made by Emil Frei & Associates The original paint scheme of the centenarian church was replaced in the 1970s with decoration and a color palette emblematic of the time.


When the interior plaster and paint decorations were damaged by water leaking through the roof, Emil Frei & Associates was hired to provide a comprehensive paint scheme. Initially the client requested a timid update to the color palette in which most of the damaged decorations would be retained. However, after consulting with our designers they decided to replace the previous paint scheme entirely.


The parish had many other pressing needs including a roof to replace and a parish hall to renovate so the available budget for painting was very limited. As a result, the color palette could include only a handful of colors and there were limited opportunities for flourishes of decoration.


Considering these limitations, a design scheme with a muted palette of similar colors may have seemed natural. Instead, we provided a transformative scheme with bold contrasting colors and rich metallics. The new palette is at the same time modern and timeless. The scheme accentuates the classical architecture and harmonizes with the rich colors in the mosaic and the stained glass.


Only the large rib in the vault at the threshold to the apse would receive new original decorative art. There a sinuous pattern with nine medallions in which important cities from the life of Jesus were rendered. The architectural heritage of various nationalities in the parish community are captured in the architecture within each medallion as a way to honor the rich cultural heritage of the parish.


Also included in the overall liturgical design plan was advising on the relocation of statuary and candles, updates to interior lighting, and reprogramming underutilized spaces within the sanctuary.


Deliverables included: a new color palette, a comprehensive paint scheme for the sanctuary and narthex, new original decoration, specification of paint products, colors, & paint finishes, project coordination & management of the painting contractor.


A future phase may include the construction of a new reredos also designed by Emil Frei & Associates.


Winner of the 1st Place in the Painting-Interior-Commercial, awarded to Bazan Painting Co. by the Painting & Decorating Foundation for its 2018 Finishing Touch Awards


Fr. Paul Niemann, Pastor
St. Pius V Catholic Church
Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO


Project Partners

Painting Contractor: Bazan Painting Co.

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