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

Church Steeple Restoration - Our Lady of Guadalupe in Austin

April 16, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

  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 ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Master Plan / Historic Preservation

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

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

Residential Green Architecture - Frequently Asked Questions Part 2

December 26, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

There's lots of talk about green building - but what does it really mean for your project?  We've been impressed with many improvements in our industry that have come from the sustainability movement, often referred to as green building.  However, not everything that's promoted as green makes sense.  Here is the second half of my article on residential green architecture and the frequently asked ... Read More

Residential Design & Construction / Sustainable Design

Austin's Alternative - Giving MetroRail a Ride

October 19, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

Like many Austin residents, I'm quite familiar with our city's alternative transportation system.  I cross the rails at MLK or Manor Road or 45th Street - often several times a day.  However, I'm always in my car.  But a full day of presentations at the Austin Convention Center provided the perfect opportunity to test the train.  I've posted my thougths on Austin's transit system in a previous ... Read More


Residential Green Building - Frequently Asked Questions

October 5, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

Many of our clients are interested in green building but still are not sure if it is worth it.  Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about green building:   What is green building?  Can it be practical? Green building, or sustainable design, refers to a growing concern with maximizing efficiency and reducing waste and energy consumption.  While many ideas are still in ... Read More

Austin / Residential Design & Construction / Architects and Construction / Sustainable Deisgn

Residential Sun Shades - They're Inexpensive and They Work!

September 23, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

In our hot, humid climate, the best way to beat the heat is to get some shade.  For residential architecture, porches, awnings, and trellises are the classic shading devices.  There also are tents, and canopies that use fabric materials for shading.  A relatively new product, the sun shade, or sun sail, offers good architectural solutions that are permanent, inexpensive and very flexible. For our ... Read More

Austin / Residential Design & Construction / Architects and Construction / Sustainable Deisgn

The Master Plan - What It Does and Doesn't Do

September 18, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

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 ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Architects and Construction / Design Process / Master Plan / Site Development

The Essentials of Master Planning - Working With Congregations

July 30, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

This is the final in the a three-part series on master planning with congregations.   The success of the master plan can determine the outcome of a congregation's building program.  The time and effort spent in master planning raises important issues early.  Participants should help set the vision and establish realistic expectations for the building program to follow. 7.    Zoning and ... Read More

Design Process / Building Committee / Master Plan

Church Design Starts with a Good Master Plan - More Essentials

July 27, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

 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 ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Building Committee / Master Plan