Adaptive Reuse: From Church to Cabaret in Canada

January 6, 2015 by: Ben Heimsath

When several communities north of Montreal were merged in 2005, an unused church building, formerly known as Sacré-Coeur-de-Jésus (Sacred Heart of Jesus) became the property of the new township. A straightforward adaptive reuse program kept the exterior of the old church, while on the inside, the old Sacred Heart was transformed into a musical theater venue. The new village of Mont Tremblant ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / Historic Preservation

Adaptive Reuse: Church Converts to Bakery

September 10, 2014 by: Ben Heimsath

Save the churches! No, this isn’t a blog about threats to religion or a particular denomination; it’s about the buildings we use for worship. Many churches, temples, and religious buildings are at risk. I blogged last year about the growing threat to historic worship spaces. As congregation members are aging and as populations are moving, many old churches are suffering from neglect and are ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use

Church Reuse is a Magic Carpet Ride

April 21, 2014 by: Ben Heimsath

If you don't already know of one, there's a good chance you'll be seeing an abandoned church sometime soon.  Last year, I noted that experts in historic preservation convened a conference in New York to begin examining this growing phenomenon.  Many older cities, experiencing population declines, have become painfully aware of the loss of their major landmarks.  As congregations either move away ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Adaptive Re-use / Historic Preservation

Is Demolition OK? – Six Essential Questions

March 14, 2014 by: Ben Heimsath

Before you demolish an older building, remember, the decision is final.  Whatever value, history or opportunity for reuse that might have been possible will be gone forever!  Our firm has long been associated with historic preservation and creative re-use of older buildings, so it may seem surprising that this blogpost is about tearing buildings down.  I served for five years on Austin’s Historic ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / Building Codes / Sustainable Deisgn / Historic Preservation

Adaptive Reuse for School in Austin

September 26, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

Construction has begun on the newest elementary school in Austin, and most of the work is indoors.  The new school is an adaptive reuse of an empty commercial building, an innovative solution for the Austin Independent School District.  For the past year, Heimsath Architects, in joint venture with Architecture Plus, has been working on the conversion of an old manufacturing facility as the best ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / Austin / Campus Architecture / Sustainable Deisgn / Schools

Church Closure - No Easy Solution

April 21, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

In the past decade, there have been increasing instances of church closure.  So what happens when a church is no longer needed?  When a congregation moves, or a denomination consolidates, something must be done with the old places.  Other congregations, or sympathetic groups may purchase and re-use the structures.  However, without a program or strategy for transition, many of these buildings ... Read More

Holy Place / Sacred Architecture / Adaptive Re-use / Historic Preservation

Master Planning for Congregations - 10 Essentials

July 10, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

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 ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Adaptive Re-use / Campus Architecture / Building Committee / Master Plan / Presentatons / Site Development

Church Design - Then and Now

June 20, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

  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 ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Adaptive Re-use / Liturgical Arts / Historic Preservation

Electric Car Implications - Saving Gas Is Just The Beginning

May 4, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

Imagine a world without any gas stations - none on the roadway, none in the neighborhood.  Imagine a stoplight with waiting cars and no smell or fumes.  Imagine a busy street without the rumble of engine noise.  Don't just imagine these things, get ready for them.  Electric cars are coming and there are big implications.  Avoiding the high cost of gasoline is just the beginning.  The electric car ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / Transportation / Technology / Sustainable Deisgn

Liturgical Objects Get A New Life

March 21, 2012 by: Maryann Heimsath

Here's an interesting feature on the Museum of Divine Statues, a new establishment for preserving discarded liturgical objects. Among the many challenges posed by the closing of an old church or religious building is what happens to the sacred art or liturgical objects. They've been part of sacred rituals or prayers by generations of worshippers.  They can't be tossed out or just sent to a yard ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Memorial / Adaptive Re-use / Liturgical Arts / Historic Preservation