Members of the CDH Partners marketing team were recently in Gardendale, Alabama, to shoot a video that will include Gardendale First Baptist Church, it’s campus, the newly constructed Kidz Kingdom, and worship center. The church’s campus and buildings are part of a Master Plan designed by CDH.
The membership of Gardendale First Baptist wanted their Master Plan to be structured with the idea of building community and strengthening families. In this photo, the pastor has easy access to the congregation, and Pastor Kevin Hamm makes the most of this fact by personally greeting as many in the congregation as possible.
CDH Partners President Bill Chegwidden, FAIA, was interviewed about the importance of having a Master Plan and how it helps churches realize their dreams for the future while staying on track financially and physically.
Later after the inside video along with plenty of b-roll was shot, Bill Chegwidden takes a closer look at the construction of the drone that was used to fly over Gardendale’s campus and shoot HD video.
A few minutes later, it was launched and flying high. The video of this amazing church is being produced now and will be available for our clients and friends to view in about three weeks.
This church has dramatic views and points of interest that brands them as reaching out to the world.
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.
Editor’s note: The educational facility on the campus of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church located in Birmingham, AL, was recently featured in Religious Product News. This new facility along with other renovations was a CDH design project. Ernest “Terry” Biglow was the principal interviewed concerning this project. This post contains a portion of the article below and a link to the entire article.
Dawson Memorial Baptist Church
By: Jennifer Walker-Journey – Religious Product News
With more than 7,800 members, Dawson Memorial Baptist Church is one of the largest churches in the Birmingham, Alabama, suburb of Homewood. Over the years, the campus has expanded to include an administration building, family life center, and a parking deck.
One of the church’s priorities is serving its families, which means children are of particular interest. In fact, church families welcomed 70 new babies a year for the past three years. The original education building dated back to 1965 and was “bursting at the seams with young people, which is fantastic,” the Rev. Gary Fenton told The Birmingham News.
Knowing this, it is easy to understand why the church’s leadership focused on creating a better environment for its children and youth. But renovation and expansion was challenge from the start. Dawson’s campus offered little room for a new building or an expansion. Even the church’s administration building was built across the street from the church.
But there was hope and the leadership team discovered this when they sat down with architects and engineers with CDH Partners in Marietta, Georgia. Their options were drawn up. Designers proposed that the church purchase the street between the back of sanctuary and the administration building. A new education building would be constructed in between these two structures.
It was a clever idea, but one that neighboring residents just couldn’t warm up to. The church and architects eventually realized it had to scrap those plans and, literally, head back to the drawing board.
“It had really forced our hand on the location of the building,” explained architect Terry Biglow, who is an associate principal with CDH. “In fact, the only space left was the front yard, and that’s what we used.”
The new addition connects to the existing education building and stands between the sanctuary and family life center, and angles toward Oxmoor Road—a main thoroughfare that runs through Homewood.
The addition is a four-story facility that fits perfectly with the traditional sanctuary and other campus structures. A window wall was used to bring natural light into a stairway that also is a nighttime visual element.
Biglow explains, “Because of local zoning height restrictions, a basement level with areaways on each side was included in the design.” Each level has eight classrooms, some of which have operable partitions. On the top floor, four of the eight classrooms were merged together to form an auditorium for youth performances and meeting space.
Click here to continue reading or here for the digital version of Religious Product News and turn to pages 14-15.
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.”
In August 2009, a devastating fire almost completely destroyed this historic church located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With the help of CDH Partners and The Strauss Company, the church membership was able to rebuild a new facility using the three remaining walls. Today, this new structure provides the congregation with a much more suitable building for their ministry needs, which includes community outreach and education. In 2012, St. Elmo’s United Methodist Church received the Solomon Award for excellence at the Worship Facilities Expo.
In an editorial interview that appeared in Worship Facilities Magazine,CDH president Bill Chegwidden explains how branding your church facility enhances your vision for the future and potential for success.
“Every building tells a story,” says Bill Chegwidden, president of CDH Partners Inc., an architectural planning firm based in Marietta, Ga. “Our most successful buildings tell the story of the church inside the building.”
To make his point, Chegwidden describes a recent project, The Gathering in Sevierville, Tenn. “The pastor started the church several years ago with the vision that it would be a place for gathering all God’s children. In effect, the whole building is a sign that shares that message and vision.”
The church’s entrance is an open and inviting area with a terrace. A large picture window lets people outside see the fireplace in the lobby, while people within the church have a view of the mountains. A large “G” sign—cleverly representing both the “Gathering” and “God”—brands the church. “The building becomes a billboard,” Chegwidden says.
Together Forever: Vision, Brand and Signage
Mark MacDonald, creative director of Pinpoint Creative Group in Winston-Salem, N.C., a full-service branding, design and social media firm that specializes in working with churches, describes a church’s brand as, “The main benefit people derive from attending your church.”
As is the case with The Gathering, the architecture of a building and the signage outside and within the building—from static wayfinding signs to digital signage that promotes events—should all point to the church’s brand.
Whether it’s intentional or not, every aspect of your church advertises your church. “If a church is not actively advertising, not keeping all these things in mind, that’s still an advertisement,” Chegwidden says. Please continue reading . . .