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Dan Fay's First Project

Unlike Bob and Jack, Dan’s introduction to the firm was as a (very) junior draftsperson.

Daniel Fay started at Teitsch Kent Fay Architects, P.C., at twenty years old, fresh out of school from Onondaga Community College. The first tasks he undertook were therefore rather simple and/or clerical. As a matter of fact, the very first assignment he received was to stick titles onto a perspective drawing that Jack had drawn for the Parish Center at Christ the King in Bayberry. This assignment, while brilliantly executed, did not really reveal much potential.

Dan spent the next few months finding his feet in production drawing, and eventually was allowed to manage very small projects, with close supervision from Jack or Bob. Of these projects, one of the earliest was the conversion of the church’s original confessional booths that were no longer being used by the Parish. Teitsch Kent Fay Architects, P.C. was tasked with converting the existing, traditional, confessional “booths” into a space for display of a statue and for private devotion. While this project was extremely small in scale, it included many of the design elements that Dan would go on to use in much larger projects.

One of these elements is the concept of “axial orientation”. The shrine was designed for the statue to be viewed symmetrically from the front. This orientation, while on a very small scale in this project, would be something Dan would go on to use on a much larger scale in the design of new worship spaces.

Lighting selection was also a key aspect of the design of the St. Margaret's Shrine. The shrine was both a very small space, but needed the proper lighting to accent the shrine. Given these factors it was important that the lighting chosen for this design illuminated the shrine in a way that didn’t give it an unattractive shadow. Dan was able to achieve this by the use of indirect light fixtures for general ambient light, and a pair of spot lights to provide even, balanced, accent lighting The lighting skills he learned in this project, Dan was able to incorporate later when designing the renovation for St. Patrick’s Church in Chittenango.

As noted above, material selection was also a major part of the Shrine project at St. Margaret’s. Even though this small space only required a small amount of carpet and a couple of paint colors, it prepared Dan for selecting materials for much larger projects where a “design vocabulary” is used to tie the whole composition together.

While not obvious at the time, this small project, which probably only took a few days to put together, gave Dan the opportunity to see the different aspects of a religious design. This experience led to Dan working closely with Jack on many other religious projects, and eventually to Dan taking over the firm’s religious work. One lesson Dan, and all of us, can take away from this is that often the small and seemingly insignificant projects can turn out to be where we learn the most.

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