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 congregation. I'm forced to ask myself, "is there a common theme or connection between all these places?" Here are a few of my observations from these trips.
First United Methodist Church's Family Life Cener at 13th & Lavaca downtown.
For one thing, I am reminded just how diverse our congregations have been. We've expanded landmark churches in West Austin and developed facilities in East Austin neighborhoods. We've worked with main-line denominations and with unaffiliated churches. Christian groups make up the majority of our projects, but we also have experience with Jewish and Moslem groups. We're currently in the planning stages with Austin's Hindu Temple. Each community has been equally important and exciting to us.
We've addressed a wide diversity of congregational needs. Some are large and complex. We have several new site developments in areas with challenging environmental regulations. Others are small and intimate. At Our Lady of Guadalupe, volunteers constructed our design for an outdoor shrine. There are many sensitive additions and renovations to existing landmarks. In some cases, such as Christ Lutheran Church in Georgetown, we transformed an existing structure by adapting it for a new use.
The memorial at Our Lady of Guadalupe reclaimed a neglected space between the Activity Center and the parking lot.
I'm particularly struck by how well our designs have held up over many years of growth and change. We talk about flexibility and timeless design, as do many architects, but the real test is whether buildings look stodgy or dated when you visit years later. The first worship space I worked on in Austin was designed nearly a quarter-century ago. I compare this with a project dedicated at this time last year. Look at the two projects below. I personally think anyone would have a hard time judging which one was the older building.
Can you tell which one is the oldest, and which one is among the newest of our Austin Churches? Share your guess in the comments below.
When I revisit these projects, I'm reminded of one of our most important challenges. We always strive to create a place that feels connected to worship. Even support spaces or non-worship functions should express a spiritual dimension. When a congregation or a community of believers builds, there is an opportunity to craft a spiritual environment. I hope as people visit these places, they will continue to experience that crucial dimension for generations to come.
University United Methdist Church - Restored exterior stone, roof, and stained glass windows.