First Baptist Church at The Villages
The Villages is a newly constructed facility centered around administrative and worship spaces. A master plan was developed to add a worship center along with small group spaces and some other community type facilities. There is an existing building on their campus that was previously used for worship. In the future, this will be repurposed for meetings and classrooms. The master plan calls for it to be physically connected to the new structure by a shared garden space.
Even though this is a retire community located within a progressive resort area, the leadership wanted it to be welcoming and embracing for all age groups. Members often have children and grand children who visit. Therefore, the approach to the construction of this facility was contemporary with theater seating for 900 people. Architects also included an area where younger children could go for classes during the main worship service.
Both exterior and interior design have the look and feel of a Florida resort community. Light colors, heavy wicker furniture in gathering areas, island ceiling fans, and an abundance of natural light make this a comfortable and welcoming setting. The decision to use a slope floor and theater seats provided good sightlines from the seats to the platform. There is also state-of-the-art audio and video integration into the sanctuary. The area is a high volume, vaulted space.
One of the church’s central desires was to be good stewards of the money they had for construction. This meant the church’s leadership team had to make some tough decisions about the facility. However in the end, they were able to reach their basic goals and even go beyond these. This was partly due to the insight and flexibility of CDH architects, who designed the facility without sacrificing a great deal of function.
If there was a challenge for this project, it involved taking the original vision, preserving it, and building the structure within budget. CDH was able to do this and the results are striking both inside and outside the facility. So the goals of the client were achieved.
First Baptist Church
The Villages, Florida