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Get to Know GDG - Paul Barribeau

Get to Know GDG: Paul Barribeau, AIA, LEED AP, Religious Studio Director

Paul Barribeau, AIA, LEED AP, serves as GROTH Design Group’s Religious Studio Director and has more than 25 years of architecture experience exclusively with religious clients. Read on to learn more about his extensive expertise and approach to liturgical architecture.

What was your path that lead you to architecture?
The path was long but rewarding. It equipped me with a set of skills that has helped me better understand both architectural composition and liturgical design. Prior to attending college, I planned to become an architect. But my early years in college called me toward another passion, classical language and a career in pastoral ministry. My work in church buildings illustrated how challenging doing ministry can be in poorly designed buildings. So I embarked again on an architectural degree to be able to serve the Christian community designing buildings that will better serve the community of faith.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the clients I work with on building committees and their commitment to their churches. Very few of the individuals that serve on these committees are paid staff for the church. Most are volunteers. I am always mindful that as the professional they have hired to assist with their project, I am being paid for my commitment of time, while they do it for the love of their church.

What have you seen as the biggest changes in liturgical design over the years?
The tools for ministry have become more technology-based in a community that is most concerned with people. They are good tools but they change quickly. Additionally, church buildings, which in past decades were designed for permanence, now need to accommodate much more flexibility as religious communities respond to ever-changing needs and to maximize the full use of their facilities.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Coordinating multiple people, whether church members, building professionals, engineers and consultants, artists or my colleagues in architecture. A religious architectural project touches many. I have a responsibility to them in walking with them on their journey.

How do you motivate yourself and the team members for each unique project?
There is nothing more motivating than getting to know the community for which we design, understanding their needs and passions.

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