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

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

Chapel of the Holy Cross Proves Architectural Ideas Take Time

December 11, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

How did an unrealized design concept for an urban cathedral eventually give rise to a desert chapel?  Some architectural ideas take a long time to develop, but this one really took some interesting twists and turns. This fall, I visited the Never Built:  Los Angeles show at the A+D Architecture & Design museum in Los Angeles.  I was surprised to discover an early, though vastly different, ... Read More

Architects and Construction / Design Process / Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / modern architecture

Architectural Design Process Shared - Faith & Form Article

December 2, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

The national journal, Faith & Form, published Ben Heimsath's article "A Shared Process of Creation."  He wrote about the architectural design process as a collaborative venture.  A design created in a truly shared process has the potential to express a unique sense of spirituality.  The journal does not post on-line, so the editor has given us permission to copy the published article for ... Read More

Architects and Construction / Design Process / Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Building Committee / Master Plan

The Church Design Process – Does It Look Like a Church?

March 21, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

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 ... Read More

Design Process / Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture

Sacred Place is Home For The Arts

August 31, 2012 by: Clovis Heimsath

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 ... Read More

Design Process / Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Holy Place / Artists / Master Plan

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

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

The Church and Development - What's Missing Here?

May 11, 2012 by: Clovis Heimsath

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 ... Read More

Design Process / Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Holy Place / Sacred Architecture / Master Plan

What Is A Church? An Outsider's Perspective

April 30, 2012 by: Li Tong

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 ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Worship Space / Holy Place / Sacred Architecture

Church Interior Design - Is Beige The Only Color?

March 27, 2012 by: Sandy Stone

For several decades, I have worked with churches and building committees as both an architect and interior designer.  I have found that church interior design often presents a surprising challenge - how to work with color.  Often, a large building committee will try to weigh-in on selections, but few people understand how color works or affects the built environment. To complicate matters, color ... Read More

Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Design Process / Building Committee

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