The church steeple restoration at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Austin is nearly complete. The project consisted of replacing most of the exterior materials on the original tower and restoring the original trim profiles.
The church called upon Heimsath Architect’s expertise when a portion of a column fell to the ground. Originally constructed in the 1950’s, the church tower had been patched and repaired over the years, but recently showed signs of significant deterioration. A large bee colony had made its home in three of the columns, filling them with honeycomb.
The architects conducted a conditions assessment study and worked with structural engineers to evaluate the extent of the problems. A structural analysis determined that interior supports were still sound. A local bee keeper was called in to give the colony a more suitable home. The restoration program was then focused on rebuilding the exterior with new columns, roofing materials and wood details.
The condition of the tower had deteriorated significantly. Well-intentioned patches and repairs had covered or compromised the wood trim profiles.
The original copper roofing proved to be in good shape, but the drip edges were not diverting rainwater properly. By resetting the drip edges and re-soldering seams, the copper dome and other roof elements remained intact. The contractor ultimately removed 400 pounds of honeycomb from the tower!
The new wood details and profiles show the quality of the steeple's cupola and are an important part of the overall design.
The congregation included the church steeple restoration as part of a larger program for the historic church building. The completed work includes, roof repairs, brick repointing, stained glass window restoration and protection, wood trim replacement, exterior repainting, and an upgrade of the a/c distribution system. The contractor, Braun and Butler, scheduled the work so the church could continue to use the space during construction.
Expand your practical knowledge of historic preservation. Sandy Stone, preseravtion architect, explains how to keep these buildings in top shape. Click the link below:
In the early stages of a church design, when we begin working with congregation members, someone inevitably will say “I want this to look like a church.” In most instances, the person has a strong image in mind, often based on the church where they grew up. The person may also be expressing displeasure with the current building, which, by implication, does not look like a church.
But what should a church look like? When a congregation builds, there may be hundreds of images and ideas, but ultimately, only one can be built. What appeals to one person may be wrong for another. If it were easy to resolve these issues, we’d have church forms as simple and un-subtle as the Big Duck. This building leaves no question about its purpose.
The Big Duck on Long Island is a National Historic Landmark. Originally built by a duck farmer to sell his products, its purpose is immediately obvious.
The church design process is much more difficult than that of other building types. Most people have a hard time putting into words the intensity and deep feelings associated with their faith. These are often connected to places or events that are particularly important. How to relate to those feelings and connections is an on-going challenge in the process of creating an environment for faith.
There are no formulas or specifications for making a worshipful environment. However, there are many traditions associated with different religions or denominations. These traditions come from many cultures, and a variety of historical periods. In the United States, builders and architects have freely combined traditions from all sorts of religious, cultural or historic periods.
Woodlawn Baptist Church members wanted a strong image for their new sanctuary addition but also wanted to relate to the existing modernist building.
Merely copying or re-creating an old form doesn’t guarantee a successful spiritual experience. In some cases a poor rendition or reference to a traditional form feels out of place or becomes a distraction. And new technologies or building practices provide a host of new opportunities and challenges. For example, the traditional Italian basilica didn’t deal with modern lighting, acoustics, video recording, or projection.
But starting a design from modern structures and technology offers its own challenges. It can be tempting for an architect to place visually impressive elements in their designs. But a dramatic design may or may not be appropriate for a community of believers. Many new buildings are visually impressive, (galleries, offices, or shopping centers) but they have nothing to do with spirituality.
Careful consideration of each ministry is essential. At a fundamental level, the design needs to accommodate the rituals and rites of a given faith. There may be certain ways that these rites are accommodated in some traditions, but the designers shouldn’t limit itself to just one form. See our previous blog post series on the many ways to accommodate the rituals of baptism.
The design of a church cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” program. The design team should be closely communicating with the congregation and its leaders. They should expect inspiration to come from both traditional and modern ideas. The church design ultimately should be tailor-fit for each community.
Unity Church of the Hills developed a strong image for their 14 acre site. The welcoming entry is surrounded by a canopy of existing trees.
I presented a paper at the ACS (Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality) conference several years ago. I equated the process of design with the spiritual journey experienced in other ministry endeavors. The paper included a case study of our work with Unity Church of the Hills in planning for their new site. The church has been settled in their new location for over a decade, and has just recently worked with us to complete a Phase 2 program. Recalling the steps we took in the early planning stages, we used a similar process the second time that also evoked a sense of spirituality from all who participated.
So what should a church design look like? It might look like almost anything. But above all, it should look like the spiritual home of the group of believers who shaped and formed it.
Need information about designing a church? Learn how a master plan can be an essential first step.
Start a business without a business plan? The fact is, you couldn't! No one would lend money or invest in your business unless you laid out a clear vision for the venture.
A facilities master plan is just like a business plan, it is an essential first step for any significant building program.
All too often organizations and congregations jump into a building program with no master plan at all. Like a business without a business plan, they're making the job ahead much more difficult and prone to failure.
People will support a project when they know the priorities, understand how resources will be invested, and when they share in the overall vision for the future. Some groups have a master plan but it's old or outmoded and doesn't convey an overall plan or vision. But many try to start building with no master plan at all.
Does your group or congregation need to be master planning? Download the 10 Essentials of a Master Plan and let us know how we can help.
I have seen many instances where groups who should master plan are confused or have a negative association with master planning. In some cases, there have been previous plans that have failed due to poor organization or unclear expectations. But in most cases, it seems that people just aren't clear about what a master plan does and doesn't do. The following list has been a useful resource to several recent clients. It helped them move forward by being very clear about what to expect from a master plan.
The purpose of the master plan is to establish a conceptual framework and guidelines for the future building and development goals of the Church, Community Building or other group.
What it Does:
Establishes a framework for change.
A master plan is all about preparing for change. These may be drastic, or modest. The need for making improvements of all kinds are organized and directed into concrete proposals.
Prioritizes program requirements.
People have different interests and priorities. The master plan can emphasize the most important priorities based on the overall needs of the group or community. Lesser priorities, however, can be included and shown fit in the overall plan.
Develops general design image for the development program.
What will the future look like? How does it change what is currently in place or how will it stay the same? The overall architectural concept can be presented in computer 3-D and/or watercolor rendering. Some groups utilize a walk-through movie to present their ideas. See our blogpost on presentation movies.
Considers phasing options for implementation.
Everything can't be done at once. The first phase for construction or renovation can be presented as part of the overall master plan. Future phases can be shown with indications of the desired order of implementation.
Estimates general costs for future budgeting.
Early estimates will be based on overall size and configuration of the projected building program. In the master plan stage, an actual project hasn't been refined and costs may drop or rise. We suggest a contingency factor be added to all projections. Be realistic about budgeting and include all anticipated or potential costs.
Anticipates a strategy for permitting process.
Visions for future construction has to include a realistic assessment of the permits and entitlements required. Approvals often take time, and a master plan should explain what's involved and how long it may take.
The Master Plan for St. John Lutheran Church used color-coding to show all the planned uses.
What it Does Not Do:
Makes specific design decisions.
Ties the organization's hands.
Automatically starts a building program.
Becomes a static document.
This video was produced for Emmaus Catholic Church to present the master plan. We've updated it with images of the completed project.
Download the 10 Essentials of a Master Plan
In the early 1970s our firm had just completed an innovative branch library in a developing area of Northwest Houston. It was an instant community success and shortly thereafter the pastor of a local church, Glen Wilkerson met with me to share his vision for a new kind of church ministry. He wanted to create a sacred place that would also be a home for the arts.
Cypress Creek Christian Church purchased the property adjacent to the library. From Glen's roots in the Disciples of Christ Christian Church, the plan for the new congregation was to include arts organizations and community groups as partners from the very beginning. The Church would develop the property as both a place for worship and a community center.
This vision meant that the buildings should simultaneously serve as a ministry center for the growing church and as home for an active arts scene. We developed a design for the first building that functioned for professional theater and music performances and seamlessly switched to worship services. Opened in the early 1970's, the Centrum, as it was named, proved the vision could work and became a model for other shared-use facilities.
In 1989, Cypress Creek had grown to the point where both the congregation and the performance groups needed a larger venue. The office was called again to work with the congregation to design for the same vision at a larger scale.
Meeting the requirements for a high-end performance venue, including exacting acoustics, the plans needed to accommodate the Houston Symphony Orchestra. For church needs, the same space was designed as an inspiring and functional place for worship. Our program considered the subtle but important shifts necessary to transform the space from one use to another. Some elements were planned to remain fixed, yet were designed in such a way that they complement the secondary use.
Today The Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center is used by 120 non-profit organizations annually. The original church building (renamed The Forum), continues to be used for gatherings up to 350. The new building now bears the Centrum name, and is one of the major performance venues in the North Houston area. The space seats 900, and hosts a regular music and performance series. A gallery space is reserved for art displays. The congregation fully uses the exact same spaces for many church activities, including many vibrant and music-filled worship services.
As stated on their website - The Cypress Creek Christian Community Center is a unique community-partnership model for meeting the educational, humanitarian, spiritual, and cultural needs of Northwest Houston
In the four decades since Glen Wilkerson first met with me, Heimsath Architects has worked with many faith communities to incorporate outreach and the arts in their ministry. From our experience with many church and community programs, let us suggest these four key elements.
1. Commit to multiuse space.
For the Cypress Creek design, we diagramed activities for each day of the week, from 9 AM to 10PM. We noted all church functions and all planned locations. It became very clear that a great deal of space was available for other non-church uses. More church activities would be added as the church grew, but seeing the hours and hours of unused space helped us in planning for outreach.
2. Define what is sacred and what is secular.
It is not that all spaces should separate the two, it is possible sacred and secular can be combined. It is critical, however to consider each function independently. Actively discuss how a place to worship God will transform to a community hall or performance venue.
At Cypress Creek we designed the first building based on a “double-grid” geometric layout. The focus of some spaces aligns with the 90 degree axis, the focus of others are on the 45 degree grid. This geometry gives the space some excitement, while providing visual cues to distinguish one activity from another.
Another important detail was the placement of the cross as a distinctive cut-out shape in the garden behind the platform. In the early morning light, the cross is visible as the garden glows through the plate-glass windows behind the platform. At night, the outside is dark making the outdoor cross invisible.
3. Circulation and signage are crucial.
Nothing is more discouraging than pulling at a door that is locked, or entering a dark entry space and wonder where to go or where the offices are. Many churches have the space for the community and art activities, but they won't necessarily function the same way. With proper planning the expectations of a new visitor can be met with clear circulation. When clear paths and entries aren't readily available, at least use good signage. A person arriving for the first time shouldn't worry about getting lost or disoriented, whether they come for worship, or for the arts.
4. Make the space exciting and welcoming.
With more than forty years of constant use, the original Cypress Creek building still conveys an exterior excitement generated by the strong angles and simple geometry. The interior has been upgraded from time to time, but still feels fresh and inviting. Taking the time and effort to make a place feel and function comfortably is worth the investment.
This is the second article in a three-part series on church master planning.
The success of any church design can depend on the effectiveness of the master planning process. Here are more of the 10 Essentials of a great Master Plan:
4. Community involvement program
. If your congregation doesn't support the program, it will virtually go nowhere! How the members bring their creativity and ideas into the process is just as important as how they will contribute financially.
Our firm has developed a number of ways to bring congregation members and groups of ministry leaders into the design and planning process. Heimsath Architect's Design Retreat Workshop and All-Church Forums have proven to be effective ways of maximizing the effectiveness of community involvement.
Ultimately, the Master Plan is developed around those issues that most inspire the congregation to move forward, while offering solutions to problems that may get in the way.
5. Circulation analysis, including entry, access and connections
. This will include issues of parking and drives as well as walks, corridors and use adjacencies. A visitor should have a clear understanding of where to go and how to get around. A large gathering space is essential when groups of people are assembling or departing from large worship or fellowship gatherings.
A good layout should minimize the need to cross drives or streets. Consider the surrounding neighborhood in determining the potential for improved site entry and circulation. Think creatively to solve major deficiencies. Could a new sign, a monument, or landscaping mark the entrances? Can street traffic be slowed, or can a street narrowed or closed?
6. Establish budget expectations
. Be conservative with your budget! There are many, many unknowns in the early stages of project planning, so expect that there will be changes and surprises along the way.
What will be required for the work to proceed? Have uncertainties or contingencies been accounted for? The budget should include a projected amount for construction (hard-costs) and the expenses associated with development, such as architecture and engineering fees, permitting expenses etc. (soft-costs).
We've seen a tendency in some committees to second-guess the master plan budget with comments like: "We can build a building for less than that!" We always hope we can beat our early budgets, and often when a project is further along, we can reduce the numbers. Remember that the Master Plan will set expectations for the whole building program. Your congregation will be delighted if you can complete the project under budget, but no one will complement you for exceeding it! If you'd like to have a copy of all 10 Essentials, you may download them now.
With this post, we begin a three-part series on what it takes to produce a great Master Plan. If you'd like to have a copy of all 10 Essentials, you may download them now.
The Master Plan is a crucial first step when a church or religious community prepares for a building program. The success of the Master Plan can determine the success of all the later steps of design, fundraising and construction.
These 10 Essentials have come from experience with literally hundreds of churches and religious communities. When we develop a Master Plan, we are creating a plan for action. These efforts prepare a congregation for the changes and challenges they will encounter in completing a successful building project.
1. Examine ministry goals
-- who are we? Whom do we serve? Where are we growing now? Where will we need to grow? Many congregations or religious groups have spent considerable time and effort in determining their goals, but sometimes these conversations haven't started.
The Master Plan should begin with a review of reports and other documents that clarify the group's mission. An important part of Master Planning is to develop an understanding of how all construction projects and future developments will reinforce the main purpose of the organization.
2. Analyze existing programs for current needs and future growth.
This analysis is specific to the kinds of spaces that are needed for each use, and the adequacy of the existing facilities in providing for them. Examine immediate needs, but also account for long-term growth.
Consider new areas of ministry. Are there activities that currently use little or no space, but will need to be accommodated in the future?
3. Thorough assessment of existing buildings considering their potential for adaptive reuse.
What changes are needed to address code deficiencies or fix other problems? Would an upgrade or addition make an existing building more useful? Can a new use be accommodated in an existing space?
If an existing structure is to be removed or demolished, what are the costs? When any major change is contemplated, consider who will be impacted by the changes or demolition. Have they been adequately included in the decision-making?
Look critically at existing buildings for ways to make upgrades or changes so they can fit with and enhance the new construction.
Christ Episcopal Church in Temple, Texas was built in 1915.
There are so many things that have changed in our society in the past 100 to 150 years, it's surprising that in many ways, today's church is a lot like the place of worship in the 20th, or even the 19th Century. In some important ways, however, church design in the 21st Century can be radically different. While there has been a lot of discussion recently regarding traditional versus contemporary church designs, our experience suggests that most congregations have a strong interest in both. Rather than choosing between two opposites, many groups celebrate their rich heritage of worship while adapting and updating to the present-day world. Christ Episcopal Church in Temple, Texas, after the preservation and expansion project.
Among the major differences between the modern worship space and a 19th or early 20th Century church would be the technology. We wouldn't see electric lights or projected images in any church gathering. There wouldn't be any amplified music, or microphones for preachers or singers. There would be no air-conditioning or indoor plumbing - that means outhouses, no bathrooms! No one would remind you to turn off your cell phone before the service.
The way a congregation used their church building would also be different.
Though a congregation would gather for Sunday service, there may be little or no other activities at the church during the week. You wouldn't see a large fellowship hall or large narthex or gathering space. At most there would be a small foyer through which everyone exited, single-file. University United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas - image from the 1920's.
There would be no need for a parking lot. Most congregation members lived nearby and nearly everyone would arrive on foot. A few may come by carriage and even fewer may use the newest mode of transportation, the motorcar. In larger towns, people might arrive by street-car or train. And forget handicap access. The church front door was often up a large flight of stairs. The main floor level was raised up high above the street, perhaps to better catch prevailing breezes on hotter days.
However, many elements would be quite familiar. There would be a place for reading the gospel and preaching the sermon - we'd recognize the pulpit, though we might call it an ambo. In many Christian churches, the sacraments would have the same meaning and the same elements - a table for the Eucharistic meal, a font for baptism. Today, however, the font may be greatly increased in size and prominence.
Some elements have changed in subtle, but important ways. In the old church, the altar would most likely be against a wall and the celebrant would turn his back to the congregation as he faced it. Now, the altar is almost always free-standing, the symbolic table for the gathered community. The minister faces the congregation during the Eucharistic celebration. An altar rail or a rood screen in the old church defined a separation between the congregation and the ministers. Today, some groups may have an altar rail for the distribution of the Eucharist, but large openings make them less of a barrier.
In a 19th or early 20th Century church, there would be an emphasis on music, possibly with a pipe organ, or piano and choir. There would be a focus on liturgical arts, in the stained glass, perhaps sculpture, or painting. There might be a sacred landscape, though in the old days, they might call it a Jerusalem garden. University United Methodist Church - A new entery plaza makes the historic front door fully accessible.
We work with many congregations who are stewards of older and sometimes historic churches. We also work with many congregations building new places for worship. A key question always is to look ahead to the decades to come. We find the best solutions focus both the past and the future. This means a focus on those most timeless elements of worship, and a realistic appreciation for flexibility in order to accommodate change.
More and more we see our church clients wanting lighting control to highlight areas of the worship space. It could be that they want to have a different set of lights to highlight the baptism, it could be that at times they want to light up of the choir area, or maybe they want to have a dim the lights and just have light shining on the pulpit.
Traditionally this is done in one of two ways; simple track lights or a full theatrical dimming system. Theatrical dimming systems give you an immense amount of control and options, but the systems cost a lot of money, are not the prettiest things in the world, and can be intimidating to the average user. Tracks systems give you an inexpensive product that is more attractive, but these systems give you very little control. Usually tracks have 1 or 2 (sometimes 3) control circuits, so your lights have to be grouped into the number of control circuits available.
We have found one possible solution to this problem, and have used it quite successfully in the last couple of projects. The solution is Altman Smart Track
. The Altman system looks just like a track and installs just like a track (and comes in white), so it is a little more attractive than theatrical lighting. The ingenious part of the Altman system is that each head has its own dimming control module and the track has a communication wire in it. This allows each head to have an individual identification number on the control circuit which in turn allows each head to be controlled individually. So there is only one electrical feed and control feed to the track, but every head is independent. Their are options for barn doors, colored lenses, even color-changing LED heads to get the lighting you want.
They have control systems that then let you program different scenes by controlling each head. They even have touch screen panels and lighting control boards to allow the most basic novice and the most advance lighting person to use the system. Typically we have switched to ETC controllers because their dimming systems allow us to pick up other loads like the house lights (even if they are not dimmable) and simply and easily have control over the whole space.
Be sure to discuss your needs and budget with a design professional, full theatrical dimming may be what you need, but the Altman system can get you a lot of functionality for less money.
Tips to think about
- If the space is a multi-purpose space, how are you protecting the lights from balls and other items.
- Typically, lights are placed at 45° angles horizontally and vertically from their targets.
- The 45° angle means the lights are often high which means you need to think about how you will change them (especially over fixed seating). LEDs help with this as they have much longer lives. Using a dimmed incandescent can greatly extend the life of a incandescent bulb. We sometimes spec higher wattage lamps, so that they never need to get above 3/4 power.
- Multiple spots on a target helps with shadows.
- Color changing LED heads have really been improving, but you will want to be careful if you are using them to light people. Many of the heads now have more the just Red, Green, Blue LEDs so that you get a more natural skin color. Make sure you test out the heads you are looking at before purchasing a whole bunch of them.
Smart Track Offers a variety of Heads for your lightiung needs.
How much do you know about lighting? Do you need an overview of basic terms and technologies? Eric MacInerney has prepared a terrific resource: Lighting Basics - What You Need To Know. Download now, it's free.
After the 2nd World War, many cities in Europe were rebuilt as New Towns. These developments were based on many of the principals of the Garden City Movement, promoted by Ebenezer Howard. These New Towns became an important precedent for American suburbs, though most often without the encumbrances of the European regulatory environment. But we missed one thing the Europeans got right. The church and development were planned together in many New Towns. American planners, sadly, have given little or no thought to the role of the church in their new communities.
The church is in the center of an New Town in England.
In the early 1960's, I was a consultant to a NASA research effort to apply space energy technology to the design of urban communities. I was privileged to visit several model European New Towns as they expanded or continued construction. Though we were studying the energy conservation and generating technologies (a generation before our green building movement!), I noted how planners placed churches right in the center of the town. Planners had carefully laid out the commercial downtown and right in the center, a place was reserved for the church. St Paul’s Church in the New Town of Harlow in Sussex, Great Britain, for example, is a focal point of the new downtown.
St. Paul's Harlow Towne Centre.
There have been a few exceptions. In the 1960s, the planners for the New Town of Columbia Maryland located interdenominational chapels in the city center. But the majority of new developments to this day give scant consideration of the church or its role in the life of a community.
The typical planning and zoning process places major uses, retail, offices, multi-family and single family together. The church doesn't automatically fit in any one of these, but may be designed to relate to any of them. In some instances, church lots are placed at the edge of a housing area, but often as an afterthought, with little connection to other community resources. Developers are giving considerable attention to amenities such as parks, jogging trails and water features and could easily include plans for churches. Even the new urban settlements ignore the European model and leave churches out of their community or commercial centers. What has happens to the church in most developments is they are relegated to compete with large commercial or industrial buildings for sites along highways, or outside of the main settlement.
It is ironic that historically, American towns actually celebrated the location of the church. Nearly as many towns in America have a "Church Street," as have a "Main Street." In the Southwest, the tradition from Spanish settlement often gave the church its own plaza, or at least connected it to the civic plaza at the heart of the town. Another early example is in New Orleans. The heart of the French Quarter is St. Mark's Square, with St. Mark's Cathedral the main focus.
Years ago, Heimsath Architects designed Cypress Creek Christian Church in Spring, Texas as part of an overall master plan for the Cypress Creek Municipal Center. Placement of other municipal facilities, a fire station on one side and a library on the other was designed to maximize the circulation between the city and church functions and to share parking spaces. Over the years, both the church and the city facilities have changed and expanded, but the basic connectivity remains at the heart of the community. Why can't we do more planning like this?
As one of many native Chinese who were born in mid 80s and raised in central China, I had little exposure to religion or places of religious worship. If you had asked me “what is a church” several years ago, my answer probably would be a gothic cathedral with large stained glass windows, long somber corridors and loud ringing bells or a similar architype from history. Most of my early knowledge about churches came from western literature. In classic books such as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
or The Count of Monte Cristo
, Churches are often described in detail as a setting where charaters confront their past misdeeds.
Although I never saw a church in my hometown, I felt that a church must be a sacred site full of mystery, where people may easily find spiritual inspiration and perception. Churches in western culture might be similar to temples in China. But while a temple is a place for individual rituals, a church is more often a place for people to gather in worship. Kuan Yin Temple, Jingshan, China
It was not until I went to college in Wuhan, China to study architecture did I began to learn about the church as a specific building type. For the first time those unfamiliar words from the literature such as “buttress,” “labyrinth”, “altar” began to make some sense. The Cathedral of Cologne, Chapelle de Ronchamp, Istanbul's Hagia Sophia…these famous churches were no longer just tourism attractions from travel channels or magazines but also extraordinary architectural wonders.
My third-year studio in urban design provided me with a great opportunity to visit some historic buildings in the city of Wuhan, including a few historic churches. These churches were built during colonial times and looked very similar as their European predecessors in style, massing, materials, space and decorative details. But since Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are the major religions in China, these churches were kept mostly as historic landmarks rather than places of religious worship. Their venerable and solemn environment made them appealing to some young people for special events, such as weddings. But these were largely non-religious events. In most cases, the church buildings I encountered in China were poorly maintained and largely ignored. Huayuanshan Catholic Church, Wuhan, China
My interest in historic sites and architecture led me to study historic preservation in the US. I got the chances to visit both historic and contemporary churches and now I work at Heimsath Architects who are experts in the field of church design. I have learned that creating a spiritual space is not as easy as following a design recipe. Building a church takes a combination of conceptual thinking and architetural shaping in tune with a spirit-filled community.
I recently participated with our clients at Leander United Methodist Church in developing a master plan that includes a new sanctuary on their historic property. I listened closely as the community shared their experiences and exchanged stories about the church during the Community Forum and Design Retreat Workshop. They expressed their different opinions and ideas on the design of the new building. When it came to their existing historic sanctuary, nearly all of them showed strong desire to restore it for continuing use as a chapel.
In saving the old church, the group was not only showing respect to the past, but actually anchoring the concept for the new church. Together, both structures will reflect a spiritual interpretation that feels both contemporary and traditional. But unlike those European Cathedrals I visited in China, the heritage will continue to be an integral part of the congregation’s faith life.
Even though I am still as an outsider when it comes to religion, I can feel the power and spirit a church brings to its community. What’s more important, as an architectural professional, I now have the chance to help shape a church – an environment not only about form, shape and space but also about people and spirit.
Leander United Methodist Church Master Plan