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Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart

Much of the most beautiful stonework in the Old World lies in cathedrals. In them, we marvel at the variety of colors in the stone, the intricate ornamentation, and more. Rarely do we find this level of design in the New World.

At the Sacred Heart Cathedral, however, design architects used the Old-world stone detailing. Within it are twenty solid marble columns; 10,500 SF of intricate marble paving patterns utilizing twelve different stone types and six marbles within the liturgical elements; stone and glass mosaic; and 2,000 SF of marble base at the perimeter.

The Cathedral’s entrance paving is set in a diagonal pattern. This pattern repeats along the perimeter aisles and transepts. The paving field is flanked with decorative, radiating petal pattern of the same material.
The Narthex houses two niches. Recessed within them are artisan-made glass and stone mosaic panels. Each individual tesserae of stone and glass tile are hand-cut and meticulously located to create an exquisite, eye-catching detail.

In the Nave, two solid columns of Giallo Siena Brocatello marble stand on each side. The fragile, marble columns – fabricated by lathe and finished by hand – are reinforced with steel tubes.

Within the Nave lie fourteen solid columns of Statuario Bianco Campanili upon Grigio Carnico solid octagonal, veneer bases. We installed them with scaffolding with carrying beams and manual chain hoists to bring the columns into a vertical position over the marble bases. Specially engineered connections were made to steel arches above.

In the center aisle is a paving pattern of book-matched Fior di Pesco marble. The Baptismal Font to the left is solid Statuario Campanile with a carved filigree wave pattern. A solid shaft of marble with inlaid panels of Rosso Francia and Portoro Extra on a Grigio Carnico base supports the basin.

The raised sanctuary exhibits simple style, but with detailed ornamentation. The paving pattern is a mosaic of twelve marbles and over 2,000 pavers and treads.

The Altar of Sacrifice at the center of the marble mosaic carpet is made of Statuario Michelangelo polished marble. The face panels are Campan Payole Gris, Giallo Siena Brocatello, and Rosso Francia Languedoc marbles with hand-tight joints. At the front of the Altar are three hand-crafted stone and glass mosaic panels.

The raised Cathedra’s center panel is made of solid Fior di Pesco with inlaid diamond, book-matched panels. The Bishop’s Coat of Arms is made of glass and stone tesserae mosaic and inlaid stone. This panel, installed with special rigging, was carved on the rear side to mold itself around one of the four marble columns.

The raised, Altar of Reservation at the rear of the sanctuary is made from Statuario Michelangelo polished marble with Grigio Carnico treads and Fior di Pesco risers. Campan Payole Gris, Verde Issoire, Fior di Pesco, and Bianco Carrara Campanili accent marbles line the wall panels.
The tabernacle surrounding the Altar consists of Rosso Francia Languedoc and Giallo Siena Brocatello solid columns that support the Ciborium.

This highly sophisticated design was a true challenge in the coordination of materials, fabrication, and installation. The project was the winner of the 2018 MIA Pinnacle Award for Commercial Interiors.

Location: Knoxville, TN
Completion: 2018
Owner: Catholic Diocese of Knoxville
Architect: McCrery Architects PLLC
General Contractor: Merrit Construction
14,000 sqft
Services: Design, fabricate and install all marble floors, mosaics, altars, statues, fonts
Press: Use Natural Stone

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