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).”
Please click here to continuing reading.
Work is well underway at the construction site for historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta. This new location on Walnut Street is adjacent to Morris Brown College and about four blocks from the church’s original location.
CDH Partners Project Manager Carine Kroko and firm Principal David Strickland were on site for a meeting and site tour with the Van Winkle construction team.
The site will take shape quickly once the drainage is in. Plans call for this new campus to be completed in the spring of 2017.
The Ground Breaking Ceremony for Friendship Baptist Church was held on Sunday, October 18, at 4 pm. CDH is the architect for this historical church. Friendship Baptist Church was established in 1862 and independently organized in 1866, in the days following the Civil War. Friendship is Atlanta’s first black Baptist autonomous congregation. The church began in a discarded railroad boxcar that was donated by a Cincinnati, Ohio, church. The boxcar served as a worship space on Sundays. By 1865, it was used for early classes at the burgeoning Atlanta University.
The membership grew rapidly so the congregation moved to a larger building on the corner of Haynes and Markham Streets and later to the Mitchell Street location.
Friendship’s role in black education has been unique and very important. In 1879, after Morehouse College moved to Atlanta from Augusta, classes were held at Friendship Baptist Church. Years later in 1881, Spelman College had its beginning in the basement of the Mitchell Street site. Close ties between these educational institutions and Friendship Baptist Church continue today. —Taken from the Ground Breaking program produced by Friendship Baptist Church
The new building should be completed in spring 2017.
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.
The National Catholic Partnership on Disability in partnership with Loyola Press recently announced that St. John Neumann Catholic Church is the 2014 winner of the Loyola Press Parish Award.
Judges noted that St. John Neumann Parish has gone above and beyond to make their sacred space accessible to everyone, who worships there. They also stated, “The sacred space maintains its beauty and purpose while being accessible to all and allow for person with physical disabilities to worship and to minister at the parish. “Being sensitive to the needs of others is not a separate space or program; it is an organic part of the church and its community.”
Executive Director of NCPD Janice Benton says, “The parish of St. John Neumann has truly spared no effort to make their church accessible to the last detail. They have done this in an effort to ensure this today, and also for the future. This means that priests and parishioners will have access and continue their ministry at the altar.”
CDH Partners created a master plan that made sure the physical features of the church embodied a spirit of inclusion. The plan called for the construction of new 850-seat sanctuary along with the addition of classrooms and storage space. There was a conscience effort by the design team to move those who stepped into the worship center from “secular to sacred.”
Natural finishes create a sense of warmth, worship, and welcome. Parish doors are equipped with pulls so those in wheelchairs can easily navigate through the building. The main entrances have automatic door openers. The reading desk in the ambo along with the altar has been adjusted in height. An 80 by 120-foot plaza connects the existing church building to the new sanctuary. A principle feature of this church is the life-size baptismal font located in the front of the narthex. The church’s main aisle is elongated and contains light fixtures that provide beams of warm light on either side of the nave and the narthex. The tile pattern of the floor is used to connect the nave to sanctuary.
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.
First United Methodist Church located in Orlando, Florida, was recently awarded the 2013 Design Award for Best Religious Structure for Precast Concrete. The church has been located in the city’s downtown area for over 100 years. Judges for the competition said, “This project was selected because of the unique pattern in the precast concrete and because most of its LEED Silver points came from the precast panels due to their durability, energy efficiency, and the lifecycle precast adds to a facility.”
CDH architects and interior designers created a modern addition to complement this traditional-styled sanctuary. In April 2012, the 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 is a 125-seat chapel that contains a parlor, bride’s suite, music suite, adult and children’s classrooms, nurseries, and an administrative suite. Designers placed the parking area beneath the new addition to help with its sustainability while reducing the overall footprint of the project.
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. This structure is LEED Silver 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.
To read more about this structure and its place in the 2013 Design Awards, please click here.
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.”
The following article was recently published in Church Executive Magazine. It contains quotes from CDH principal Ernest C. (Terry) Biglow.
By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
A church considering a commercial kitchen finds out quickly it’s a big undertaking. They must navigate a multitude of equipment and construction requirements, plus liabilities, staffing and inspection considerations.
For starters, it helps to understand the basic differences between a commercial kitchen and a warming (residential-style) setup. Ernest C. (Terry) Biglow, III, AIA — managing principal at CDH Partners, Inc., in Marietta, GA — often leads church clients through this complex territory.
“Commercial kitchens are subject to inspections for compliance with the local health department, and the number of meals served might influence the frequency of those inspections,” he explains. “On the equipment side, anything more than a microwave could be considered a commercial kitchen in some areas of the U.S.”
On the intended use side of the equation, Eric MacInerney, principal and project architect at Heimsath Architects in Austin, TX, says three kinds of activities put a church kitchen on the health department’s radar as a commercial operation: serving a day school, serving the homeless, and selling food. “These create a situation where there’s public trust in the food.”
Since many churches will want to offer these services, a commercial kitchen becomes the logical choice. Once that decision is made, the issue of vent hoods and exhaust systems isn’t far behind. There’s a reason: They’re expensive — and non-negotiable. Click here to continue reading.