New Jersey Church Planning Monolithic Dome

St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Christian Church in New Jersey may soon be the first congregation in the state to build a Monolithic Dome. The new structure, which is pending approval from the Belleville Zoning Board, would serve as a youth center.

Church officials have asked architect Rick Crandall to present a proposal to the board at a meeting next month. Crandall told the Belleville Patch that the new building would resemble the Pantheon in Rome in design, and could withstand 300-mile-per-hour winds. It also would be 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient because of its thermal concrete mass, he said.

The new domed church building would include one floor dedicated to a multipurpose hall, including children’s rooms, meeting rooms and a kitchen, and another floor for a youth chapel and meeting room. It also would include an underground parking area.

The plan calls for the partial demolition of an existing church building constructed in the 1950s. Three homes on the west side of the church would also be demolished to make room for the expanded facility. Church officials are scheduled to appear before the zoning board on December 3.