What is a Narthex?

March 15, 2012 by: Clovis Heimsath

 What is a Narthex?  Why is it so important in church design?  The Narthex is the entry space for worship.  It is a space where all the worshippers gather together before and after service.  The Catholic Bishops define the term in their publication, Built of Living Stones:  “The narthex is a place of welcome—a threshold space between the congregation's space and the outside environment. In the ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Design Process / Site Development

Demand Charge for Church Electricity: Is This a Good Idea?

March 13, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

So what is a demand charge and why should churches care?  Churches should care a great deal.  If you are not paying it now, watch out!  It could equal or even exceed your consumption charge in a given month. A demand charge for church electricity bills is seriously being considered by our local utility company.  Some utilities already have added this charge for churches, and may soon expand or ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Austin / Technology / Sustainable Deisgn

Adoration Chapel Stained Glass

February 24, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

We're pleased to announce that the Adoration Chapel stained glass windows designed by Ben Heimsath for Emmaus Catholic Church in Lakeway, Texas are featured in a great article in this month's Catholic Spirit.  The monthly newspaper is published by the Diocese of Austin and features notable events and activities in the Central Texas region. The firm completed the new Parish Activity Center last ... Read More

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

Building Preservation Is Greenest!

January 31, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

Which building is the greenest?  How about the one you already own? The results of a ground-breaking study were released last week by The National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The data shows for the first time how an old building stacks up against a potential replacement building.  Even a highly efficient new green building doesn't pay off compared to a renovated or upgraded existing ... Read More

Worship Space / Adaptive Re-use / Architects and Construction / Historic Preservation / Sustainable Design

Austin Churches Designed by Heimsath Architects

January 20, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

  Use this interactive map to see names and descriptions of Austin Churches designed by Heimsath Architects. View Heimsath Architects - Austin Area Churches in a larger map   We've had a number of requests recently for tours to see Austin churches designed by Heimsath Architects.  It has been very instructive to revisit some of these sites and to note how successful they have been for each ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Austin / Site Development

Austin Churches - Hidden All-Faith Jewels

October 27, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

You may think you know Austin Churches, but here are three wonderful worship spaces few people know exist.  Built as all-faith spaces, these were planned for prayer and worship regardless of denomination or affiliation.  They represent three generations of Austin religious leadership and three generations of spiritual and church architecture.  All of them are reasonably accessible - you may pass ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Austin / Historic Preservation

Little Cranberry Island - Two Very Basic Churches

August 14, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

Islesford, Maine on Little Cranberry Island is a beautiful place, but has very few frills.  For the year-round residents and the summer regulars who join them, the essentials are all that count.  There's the Neighborhood House that shares space with a public library and a one-room post-office that doubles as the island store.  The one restaurant is seasonal, yet attracts a steady crowd of diners, ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Liturgical Arts

Baptismal Fonts -- How, What, Where? -- Part 3

July 8, 2011 by: Eric Mac Inerney

Here is the final installment of the Baptismal Font Article!  Today we will look at codes and technical issues. CODE The code implication of a baptismal font (especially a full immersion font) can be very complicated depending on your jurisdiction.  The fact that it is a religious object may help you escape some code implications, but keep in mind that the code regulations have thought and ... Read More

Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Liturgical Arts / Building Codes / Architects and Construction / Design Process

Baptismal Fonts -- How, What, Where? -- Part 2

July 1, 2011 by: Eric Mac Inerney

Here is Part 2 of 3 the the posts on Baptismal Font Design.  Previously we looked at Type, today we look at Location. LOCATION One of the main determinations of location is the logistics of getting people to and from the font.  Also, since baptism of a person is actually a community event, you need to make sure the congregation can see the ceremony (though you also need to consider what can be ... Read More

Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Liturgical Arts / Building Codes / Architects and Construction / Design Process

Baptismal Fonts -- How, What, Where? -- Part 1

June 24, 2011 by: Eric Mac Inerney

The following is part one of a three-part blog post on baptismal fonts wherein I will look at various technical and design issues.  A companion blog post, written by Ben Heimsath, will delve more into the liturgical aspects of baptism and how they relate to the overall space. I truly enjoy designing religious spaces (churches, temples, worship spaces, sanctuaries, chapels, prayer spaces, etc.), ... Read More

Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Liturgical Arts / Architects and Construction / Design Process