Editor’s note: This article recently appeared in the April/May 2016 of Worship Facilities and describes the importance of maintaining strong relationships during every phase of the planning process.
Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. Here is an in-depth look at one crucial finding — the importance of consultant selection.
Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. One of the points we learned from their responses was how important it is to select a consultant (architect, design build firm, etc.), who’ll be a great fit.
One respondent stated they would do “better research and vet a design-build firm and insist on 3D computer modeling to check for plan fit.”
Another participant recommended churches, “select designers with a passion for the project and that will listen to the church. The lowest fee is not saving money in this case.”
When you embark on a new building or extensive remodeling project, you’ll spend a lot of time with the architectural and/or building firms you hire. This is the team of experts you’ll rely on to turn your vision into reality.
Since this relationship needs to be collaborative, we interviewed architects who’ve worked with churches to hear their perspective. We wanted to hear their recommendations for selecting a vendor and establishing a great relationship between church leadership and architect.
Here’s what we learned:
Tip #1: Look for a firm with experience working with church leaders
One church leader who responded to our survey recommended “Be patient and don’t rush into any one firm until you’ve been able to evaluate several contractors and visit sites they’ve completed and talk with staff to verify how their project went.”
David Strickland, Principal with CDH Partners recommends church leaders, “Select a good, experienced team who has worked with churches. If an architect or builder isn’t familiar with churches, you’ll have to spend time educating them on requirements and logistics that are specific to a church. If they have experience working with churches, it’ll make the project run much smoother and will establish a high level of confidence between groups (builder, architect and church).”
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Minh Duong and Christian Fraser share their personal experiences with students.
Members of the CDH architectural studio Minh Duong and Christian Fraser recently attended Career Connections Exhibition for high school students. The event features dozens of metro Atlanta employers representing fields of study that are currently offered at Gwinnett County’s seven Academy high Schools.
The Career Connection is a place where students can meet and talk with employees from a broad range of Atlanta companies and firms.
Each year, this event exposes students to potential careers helping them to make an informative choice when entering a higher grade in one of Gwinnett County’s Academy high schools. Students networked and interviewed professionals in different career clusters.
The theme for these events is “Help to make a good student great,” says CDH principal Melissa Cantrell, “That is what we want to do by talking with as many students as possible and telling them about CDH and how they can impact their world in a very significant and positive way through the fields of engineering, architecture, and interior design. Most students are very interested to learn about the work we do and how they could possibly study to become a part of a team like ours and then to go on and influence their world for something good.”
It is the beginning of a new chapter of the life of historical Friendship Baptist Church, and CDH Partners will join in on the next part of the story. The Marietta firm was selected as the design firm for the project, which includes the construction of a new sanctuary, chapel, educational space, and fellowship hall. Over the last few weeks demolition began on the what will become the new site for the church.
The church’s building committee recently unveiled plans for the new church campus that will be located on property once owned by Interdenominational Theological Center. Plans call for the new church to be completed in April 2017, which is the church’s 155th anniversary. The new 44,000 square foot church will contain state-of-the-art technology, and a sanctuary that will seat 500 people. The flexible Fellowship Hall will contain a stage and room for over 450 people, while a smaller chapel will seat 200.
Friendship Baptist was displaced when the Atlanta Falcons began to acquire property for a new stadium. Twenty-five former slaves established the church in 1862. It was independently organized in 1866 and became the first African American Baptist church in Atlanta. In the beginning, church services were held in a donated railroad boxcar given to Friendship Baptist by a church in Ohio. It was used for church services on Sunday and as a classroom for youth during the week
The church’s congregation grew quickly and moved to the corner of Haynes and Markham Streets. It relocated to Northside Drive and later to Mitchell Street before selling its property in 2014 to the Atlanta Falcons. Both Spelman and Morehouse Colleges began in the basement of this church. These schools became a part of the larger 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.
CDH Partners is consistently one of the top 25 architectural firms in Georgia. It was founded in 1977 and has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most progressive architectural firms in the state of Georgia and the southeast.
The WellStar Pediatric Center means so much to the Cobb County, Georgia, community. This brightly lit facility contains state-of-the-art technology that was designed especially for children and students from birth to 21. CDH Partners designed it to be a relaxing environment that increases positive patient experiences while yielding better healthcare outcomes.
Interactive displays, electronic tablet stations, age appropriate seating, flat screen monitors, and window glazing make this center a place that children enjoy visiting. It also contains Urgent Care, MRI, doctor’s offices, and physical therapy. View the video here.
Editor’s note the following article was recently published in Religious Product News.
The day St. John Neumann Catholic Church opened the doors to its new worship space in Lilburn, Georgia, in the mid-80s, the parish had already outgrown its building. Over the next 25 years, membership grew so much that the church was holding 11 masses every weekend.
“It was wearing the clergy out,” says Ernest C. (Terry) Biglow, architect and principal with CDH Partners, an integrated design firm based in Marietta, Georgia.
When the parish consulted with CDH about an expansion at the church, they actually came with another architect’s plan in hand. The design included a new parish hall and chapel attached to the existing church building. But something about the plan did not feel right.
“The parish hall was designed at the end of an existing six-foot-wide corridor that ran through church offices, creating a circulation issue. The proposed chapel was small and awkwardly placed,” Biglow recalls. His first question to parish leaders was, “Have you ever done a Master Plan?”
They had not. This is when Biglow suggested they take time to determine the needs of the church. Then they could develop a Master Plan for the present and for years to come. It also would serve as a framework for their future building decisions. Click here to continue reading.
The WellStar Paulding Hospital, which is a CDH design project will be featured at the upcoming HCD September Design Showcase. The project will also be highlighted in the Healthcare Design Showcase Magazine and online. Click here to view this amazing project.