The First United Methodist Church in Orlando, Florida, was recently awarded the 2013 Best Religious Structure Design Award by PCI. The church has been located in the city’s trendy downtown area for over 100 years
CDH architects and interior designers created a modern addition to the traditional styled sanctuary, which 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.
In April 2012, a spacious fellowship hall was completed, which contains an upscale café and a full service kitchen. It also serves as a recreation destination for children, who play in specially designed themed areas.
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 Silver certified and energy costs have already been 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.
Writing for PCI’s publication Ascent Magazine, Sarah Fister Gale writes, “”Today’s architects and engineers are under constant pressure to deliver beautiful, durable structures within constrained budgets and schedules. The winner of the 2013 PCI Design Awards Competition demonstrate the ways that precast concrete helps them meet those goals.
“This year’s winners showcase the high-performance attributes that precast, prestressed concrete can bring to a project. . . . Precast concrete enable all of the winners to accelerate construction, often while working in extremely tight site conditions with minimal effects on traffic, the community, and the local environment.
“The awards covered an array of building types, include best Parking structure, Best Mixed-Use Building, and Best Religious structure, along with a variety of bridge types and lengths. . . . Each of this year’s award winners proved that precast concrete brings beauty, strength, and efficiency to all types of structures and will continue to be a go-to materal for engineers and architects seeking high performance.”