First Baptist Toccoa is a very active community church with a growing student population. Even though this church is located in a rural area in northeast Georgia, it is known for its progressive building program. Over the years, the church has expanded to meet the needs of a growing congregation.
Two years ago, the church’s leadership team realized many of its young families were leaving the church in search of broader and more progressive form of worship. This is when they contacted CDH Partners and asked for assistance in retaining their current student population and expanding it to attract others from the surrounding communities.
Designers created a building that goes beyond meeting the needs of the church’s teens. While the focus of the new addition is primarily focused on students and teens, this new 14,500 square foot space accommodates a broad range of age groups and includes a contemporary multipurpose space that is used for worship, recreation, and church fellowships. The area is equipped with a state-of-the-art stage and elevated sound booth.
The facility was designed with community in mind and offers meeting and gathering spaces. The cafe with stained concrete floors serve as a perfect location for friends to meet and talk. An enclosed glass corridor serves as a welcoming transition from a traditional church environment to this newly design contemporary space.
Building committee members for the historical Friendship Baptist Church selected CDH Partners to design a completely new church campus. Plans call for this new campus to be completed in April 2017, which will be the church’s 155th anniversary. Friendship is one of the oldest African-American churches in the city of Atlanta.
The new 44,000 square foot church will contain state-of-the-art technology and a sanctuary that seats 500. The design for the Fellowship Hall will be flexible and contain a stage and room for over 450 people, while a smaller chapel will seat 200. The church will also contain educational and choir rehearsal space.
Friendship Baptist was displaced when the Atlanta Falcons began to acquire property for a new stadium. It was established in 1862 and is Atlanta’s first African American Baptist congregation. In the beginning, church services were held in a donated railroad boxcar given to Friendship by a church in Ohio. It was used for worship services on Sunday and as a classroom by youth during the week.
Both Spelman and Morris Brown Colleges began in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church. These schools later became a part of Atlanta University. The church is also the “Mother” church to nine other African American Baptist congregations.
Many elements of the historical Friendship Church building have been preserved and will be incorporated into the new building. Stained glass windows will be reused along with the church’s original bell and pipe organ.
Friendship Baptist Church
Read more about this important historical church by clicking here.
CDH designed a new sanctuary and education building for Roopville Road Baptist Church. This building contains 54,000 square feet and provides much needed space for future growth. The exterior is stucco accented with natural stone and wood creating a warm and welcoming environment. Stone columns and a well lit cupola designate the covered entry.
Large windows provide an abundance of natural light, which flows throughout the lobby space. Flooring consists of stained concrete and carpet. The sanctuary is a state-of-the-art facility containing choir space, a large stage, stadium seating, audio and video booths and theatrical lighting. The main worship center also contains a music rehearsal suite, preschool education wing, and a cafe.
Several gathering spaces were added as places to connect with friends. The building includes an administrative wing and an education wing for adults, children, and youth.
The children’s area is a safe, fun environment that contains a theater with a stage. The preschool area incorporates a safe check in desk, bright colors, and spacious rooms and has a fire house theme.
Phase two of the master plan for Gardendale First Baptist Church joins the church campus to a highly charged worship and educational space for preschool children and elementary students. This area is called Kidz Kingdom. After a worship facility was built, leadership for Gardendale quickly realized that the next priority was to move its children and youth ministries to the new location.
The CDH design team chose two themes for Kidz Kingdom both incorporate bold and happy colors, which also act as wayfinding elements for children and parents. (Please see the video below.) They are also used to engage and to motivate each age group. The first floor contains a lobby designed with a playground theme and includes a durable play set behind a tree house design. Additional classroom spaces are designed with lots of color creating an inviting space for children and youth.
On the lower level, the entrance to the 500-seat auditorium has the look and feel of a real motion picture theater with a marque and lighting. This space contains a large stage with state-of-the-art audio, video, and lighting. This theater provides a place for children to be “kidz!” They can sing, jump around, worship, watch dramas, and interact with teachers and other children. Each Sunday, volunteers pop popcorn in a large movie theater popcorn machine.
The design also included the construction of a nursery, pre-school, and elementary educational classrooms. A spacious lobby doubles as a gathering and fellowship space for children and their families. Playgrounds and well-positioned parking complete the campus. The parent drop off area for the nursery and the check-in area is on the main level and has secure access doors. The entire facility is secure and safe. Cameras are placed in strategic locations so children are monitored at all times.
The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, has grown from the original worship facility to now occupying nearly nine city blocks. CDH Partners was asked to assist the church with master-planning for the church’s campus and also interior renovations in a number of existing spaces. The original 100-year-old worship center has served the church in several capacities throughout the years.
Through proper master planning for the entire campus it was determined the most beneficial and appropriate use of this historic space required renovation of its interior as the future chapel. The transformation preserves the look of the original worship space for this mega-church but it also introduces state-of-the-art technology. Audio and video are apart of the digital technology included in the design of the worship center. The church has two campuses and live broadcasts are viewed at both locations.
The chapel continues to serve the needs of the church for smaller gatherings suited to its 400-seat capacity.
This 130-year old church moved to its current site 30 years ago. In 1970, the first phase of the master plan involving the construction of a two level sanctuary and classroom was completed. The architecture was compatible with other buildings of that time, which also included Gothic accents. Clay brick, which has a variety of color and an unique texture, was used as the primary exterior building material. A few years later, a second building was constructed matching the architectural style of the original building and providing additional classroom space along with recreation and fellowship areas. This addition also utilized clay brick as the primary exterior material.
The focal point of the campus for the next phase was a brick tower that reaches more than 100 feet above the sanctuary floor elevation. Church leaders felt they had invested wisely in previous phases of their campus development and wanted to continue to use and match existing brick, which was very successful. This new addition provides a large gathering space at the entrance of the sanctuary and a more traditional church style. Removal of an existing portico at the main entrance gave the CDH design team the opportunity to change the scale of the front of the building utilizing more brick and creating a dramatic street view. The new portico entrance, a series of three arches, has a roof line that is lower than that of the nave and the original portico. This offers a significant aesthetic improvement from a tall stucco element that was removed. Adjacent to the portico is a new prayer tower. A prayer room is located in the lower level of the tower. The harmonious use of the clay brick serves to unify the campus, establish a strong visual presence while providing both an update and upgrade for the entire campus.
The major concern the leadership of this church was retention. They wanted to make sure they had the right updated facilities to offer the youth and young families. The finishes, themed environments, and security measures were not current. CDH had built a multipurpose building on this campus years ago and it also needed updating. The choice to have a more contemporary facility also included theater seating in the main sanctuary.
The renovation took place “under roof,” which called for contractors and their teams to work during the week making the facility available for use on Sundays. It involved a great deal of demolition work, especially to the preschool and children’s areas that included moving walls, adding welcome stations, updated finishes, millwork, paint and themed environments.
The campus also contained a historical structure, which was the original sanctuary. It is now used by the youth for worship. This building was completely renovated and the original stain glass windows were refurbished. The new contemporary designed facility was also something adults, who use the facility, are comfortable using. The middle school and high school groups also have assemble space in this facility. A café was added to this area making it a great place for people to meet ad have coffee.
The children’s area was relocated and totally reconfigured. Corridors that had been difficult to navigate were changed and enlarged to increase traffic flow. Walls were taken down and reconfigured to include a center corridor that allows for a smoother transition from one space to another. An area used for fellowship, recreation, and classroom space was located on the lower level of the main worship facility. It was under used because it was dark and hidden. This space was totally renovated adding new paint, millwork, along with a new ceiling, a stage, and a state-of-the art lighting and sound system. Now, it is a perfect place for events and recreation. An elevator was also added to this building making it handicap accessible.
The space for preschoolers required a total renovation. The rooms that were in this location were functional, but CDH designers added new finishes, paint, millwork, and updated the themes. Security was also added taking care of a critical need. Architects added a check in area, cross-corridor doors to create a physical barrier to aid in security along with access control items requiring the addition of keypads. Before the renovation, the administrative staff was scattered all over the campus making security problematic. It also meant that building that contained these offices had to be heated and cooled so the campus was not energy efficient.
Architects captured some classroom space and turn it into an office suite for the staff and the senior pastor along with space for volunteers. Before the redesign and renovation, various buildings had to be left open. This newly constructed area has helped the staff to work more efficiently while conserving energy. The campus is now easier to navigate and to manage and secure. The results of the renovation is a more contemporary setting that incorporated theater seating themed areas while meeting the needs of all age groups.
Over the years, Peachtree City United Methodist Church has been through many phases of growth. The church was established in the mid 1970’s in a small but growing community. It originally purchased a three-acre tract of land and built a sanctuary that seated 500 people. However, rapid community growth and an increase in membership prompted church leaders to purchase an additional 63 acres at a nearby location for future expansion.
CDH Partners designed a five-phase master plan that included the construction of a new multi-purpose fellowship hall/250-seat chapel, a sanctuary with a seating capacity of 1,800, a music suite, prayer chapel, educational space, and administrative offices. Additional on-site parking also was added.
This traditional Methodist church was designed with contemporary elements to emphasis the church’s music and drama ministries along with the regular Sunday worship services. Therefore, special consideration was given to the sanctuary’s lighting and sound. Future phases include the construction of an outdoor amphitheater, a recreation center, ball fields, and walking trails. A small water-retention lake will be created by utilizing a creek that bisects the property.
Peachtree United Methodist Church
Peachtree City, Georgia
Noonday Baptist Church is an established church in the community that has experienced significant growth in recent years. Because of the need for more space the church purchased an 18.75-acre parcel of land across the street from their existing campus. CDH assisted in the programming and master planning to maximize both sites. The existing campus will continue to house the church’s academy, youth ministry and the church administrative needs.
The first phase of development is complete and the new campus provides the church with a 600-seat sanctuary space that utilizes portable staging. This worship space will become the fellowship hall as the campus develops and a larger worship center is added. The portable staging helps avoid a need for renovation when the campus reaches further development. Twelve adult classrooms and thirteen rooms for preschool and children were included in this two-story building. A large porte-cochere featuring exposed trusses welcomes guests upon arrival. The exterior of the bungalow styled building is detailed with brick. Two hundred parking spaces will be included in this phase of development.
Mount Paran Church of God is a rapidly growing congregation with a progressive style of worship. The location of the church campus presented serious space limitations. It is situated on a corner lot with a major thoroughfare on one side and high-end houses on the other. Therefore, considerable time was given to meeting city zoning regulations and neighborhood covenants.
The first phase of the Master Plan called for construction of a parking deck and a 200-seat chapel with educational space and elevators. This new facility serves as a traditional space that is connected to the existing buildings. In the second phase a new 2,400- seat sanctuary was built near the front entry. Afterward the existing sanctuary and administration buildings were razed and replaced with the Great Hall for fellowship and the Children’s Building. The Children’s Ministry building houses the Power House and Bible Land theaters and educational space for students.
The Neo-Gothic church is of brick and cast stone accentuating the doorways and the vivid stained glass windows. The interior is articulated in an old-world feel with thirteen-foot-five-inch, “Jubilee Doors” to delineate the narthex from a baptismal pool area. Rich millwork, a wainscot of split-face block, scissor-trusses, a clerestory cupola and iron rood screen all work together to complete the aesthetic. The cherry pews provide seating for 760 parishioners while revealing little of modern technology and mechanical systems allowing the splendor of the space to remain pure and true to the catholic tradition.
Archdiocese of Atlanta
2009 Brick in Architecture — Silver Award — Houses of Worship
2007 Georgia ASID Design Excellence Award
This church is located on 11.5 acres in the upscale community of Alpharetta, Georgia. After purchasing this spacious track of land, church leaders saw that there was a need for the development of a master plan that would be sufficient for future years of growth.
The architectural expression of the campus reflects a modern approach to church design while utilizing familiar historical elements. The exterior is designed to complement the natural setting of the worship center and is primarily comprised of brick and stone. Large areas of glazing were also used to enhance the stone detail on the worship center and to take full advantage of the church’s scenic surroundings. A tower feature adds presence, height, and natural light to the narthex.
The initial phase of the campus included the construction of a 600-seat multi-purpose facility that is used for worship and also as a fellowship hall. The design included the construction of a large kitchen, a nursery, pre-school, and elementary educational classrooms. A spacious lobby adjacent to the worship center doubles as a gathering and fellowship space for members and visitors. Playgrounds and well-positioned parking complete the campus.
Future phases include a 1200-seat sanctuary, a 150-seat chapel, a gymnasium, additional education space, administrative office space, a covered courtyard, expanded parking, and a foster home.
Our Lady of LaSalette began as a mission in 1969. By 1977 the church’s congregation had purchased land for the construction of a small parish. After it was fully established in April 1984, architects for CDH Partners created a master plan for the church that included the construction of a new parish.
This 300 plus member church had outgrown a facility that only seated 125 people. The master plan that was developed contained two phases. The first one called for the replacement of the original structure and the construction of a 400-seat sanctuary that includes sacristy and vestry rooms along with a spacious narthex.
The second phase included a new parish hall, additional parking and the conversion of the existing parish hall building to educational space. The church is located on a wooded site four miles north of Canton, Georgia. The parking area was expanded to serve the new building, the remaining parish hall, church offices, and the education building.
Large windows in the narthex open up the interior to the surrounding wooded scenery. The use of stone, glass, and wood in the original church building was continued and expanded in the design of the new structure to provide a sense of connectivity between the parish, its surroundings, and the memory of the origin church.
After purchasing a 160-acre golf course alongside the Little Miami River in Cincinnati, Horizon Community Church leaders worked with CDH to create a master plan for a new church campus. A primary objective was to preserve the beauty of the natural site while positing the new campus buildings in an area that takes full advantage of the pristine landscape. The complex was designed with sustainability in mind and features a cluster of buildings that resembles a European village. Energy is conserved through high performance thermal envelope and a selection of sustainable materials.
The design team worked closely with church leaders to create many of the outdoor features that clearly define the campus. The first phase is a traditional French Country design and sets the foundation for future growth and expansion. The focal point of the church narthex is a grand fireplace with a large hearth that serves as a gathering place for members.
Large windows in the worship center and in the narthex open up the interior of the building to the surrounding scenery. Well-positioned, handcrafted chandeliers along with the use of wood, ironwork, stone, and other natural finishes add a timeless detail. A 3.5-acre pond with 10,000 square feet of terraces is used as a place of spiritual reflection.
A 400-seat chapel that served as an initial worship space was included in the first phase of the master plan. A café, bride’s room, large gathering spaces, administrative offices, classrooms for children, educational spaces for adults, a warming kitchen, and parking to serve were also included in the initial construction.
When creating the master plan for Gardendale Baptist Church, architects faced a challenge concerning where to position this sanctuary. They chose to place it atop a small ridgeline for maximum visibility. The church is positioned on 95 acres and has three levels—one is recessed into a hill. Parking is distributed on three sides of the sanctuary. A series of glass atriums at the front of the worship center provide light and a sense of spaciousness. These areas mark the main points of entry to the facility.
Exterior finishes include stone, brick, and glass and were chosen to blend with the landscape while interior surfaces complement and support the sense of being in a natural environment. Blues and earth tones add a touch of warmth to the structure. A café, bookstore, and educational space designed for youth, college, and singles are strategically placed near the sanctuary and create intimate yet spacious settings.
Phase two of the master plan joined the campus to a 2,800-seat worship center and provided educational space for senior adults, elementary, preschool, and nursery groups. Phase three involved the addition of support and educational space while phase four included the construction of a 4,500-seat worship center. Phase five is marked by the construction of a family activities building. Please see the video below.
Gardendale’s First Baptist Church
Following the purchase of 23-acres in a popular suburb north of Atlanta, Georgia, leaders for Johns Creek Baptist Church turned to CDH Partners for a master plan that included the renovation of their existing facilities and the relocation of their worship center. The construction of a 500-seat interim sanctuary and educational facility was also included in the plan.
Church leaders placed a high emphasis on congregational involvement and fellowship within the community. Therefore, phases two and three of the master plan included the construction of additional educational space, gathering places, a choir room, and a spacious 1,000-seat-multipurpose fellowship hall, which easily transforms into a gym for recreation.
The final stage of the master plan included the construction of a 2,100-seat worship center. Traditional design features include a brick exterior combined with cast stone elements. A large three-story tower increases the visibility of the church campus and allows outside light to flow into the church’s atrium. Interior design elements included the use of painted millwork, wood, and a rich color platelet enhancing the worship experience.
The sanctuary is equipped with a hidden rear screen projection system that includes blackout shades for the large windows. State-of-the-art lighting, speakers, and audio controls are concealed within the ceiling bulkheads. A pipe organ designed from solid cherry by Italian artisans fills the space with magnificent sound.
CDH Partners was asked to create a master plan for this newly established parish. Founded in 1998, St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church shares a 130-acre site in Roswell, Georgia, with a private elementary, middle, and high school as well as a 160 – unit senior assisted living complex. Six years after the facility was built, the church’s leadership was ready to take the next step in the master plan process, which called for the construction of a 1200-seat worship center and chapel.
The exterior is an infusion of neo-gothic architecture that blends with the more simpler existing brick buildings. Extreme care was given to matching existing materials. Buttresses with cast stone embellishments, pointed arched windows, and other details were incorporated in the design to highlight the gothic design.
Parish leaders wanted the interior of the worship space and chapel to be reminiscent of their predecessors throughout Europe. Therefore, interior walls are adorned with cast stone and the ceiling incorporates the use of exposed oak beams and trim. A marble floor accents the center aisle while a custom painted blue ceiling with gold leaf stars soars overhead. Stained glass windows that were handcrafted in England add depth and warmth to this space. A choir balcony at the rear of the nave houses an 80-rank pipe organ and a state of the art audio/video system that have been seamlessly integrated into the architecture.
Archdiocese of Atlanta
Saint Peter Chanel Catholic Church
2009 Bricks in Architecture — Gold Award — Houses of Worship
First United Methodist Church of Orlando is located in the city’s trendy downtown area and has had a presence in the downtown area for over 100 years. CDH architects and interior designers created a modern addition to the traditional styled sanctuary.
In April 2012, a spacious fellowship hall was completed. It contains an 82,000 square foot contemporary worship center with a seating capacity of 350. Also included in the design was a 125-seat chapel that contains a parlor, bride’s suite, music suite, adult and children’s classrooms, nurseries, and an administrative suite.
The fellowship hall was designed to be spacious containing areas where people can meet and gather. It also contains an upscale café and a full service kitchen. An oversized sculpture resembling Stonehenge creates an imaginative divider between the fellowship hall, kitchen, and information desk. It also serves as a recreation destination for children, who play on its painted metal towers.
A custom 16-foot light fixture hangs in the center of the fellowship hall and is highly visible through glass exterior walls, which form a three-story atrium and serves as a signature feature to the new ministry center. At night this striking feature becomes a luminary for the city of Orlando. The new structure is LEED certified. Energy costs were reduced by almost 18 percent through lighting selection, e–glass windows, high efficiency solutions for HVAC, high efficiency water reduction fixtures, and energy-star appliances.
First United Methodist Church
PCI 2013 Design Awards
Best Religious Structure
Award of Excellence
2011 Golden Brick Awards
Downtown Orlando Partnership
LEED Silver Certification
Church Executive Magazine, May 2012 Worship Facilities Magazine May/June 2012