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

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

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

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

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

Architectural Watercolor Prompts Questions During Tour of Spain

August 11, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

What draws American architects to Europe, generation after generation? This question came to mind as we were leaving Madrid for Chicago, a long flight home after travel in Spain and Portugal. Maryann and I celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary with a tour around the coast of Spain and France. We’ve been able to see much of Europe over many trips, but this was our first visit to Granada, ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Architects and Construction / Master Plan / Presentatons

Disappearing Steeples? Not These Churches!

June 23, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

How did I miss the eulogy for church steeples? Apparently, in 2011, a reporter from US News and World Report noticed lots of disappearing steeples, and penned an article to mark the trend. While there’s no question that some congregations have difficulty maintaining older buildings, our experience is that steeples, and similar structures, are increasingly important for churches and places of ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Historic Preservation

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 face ... 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

Architectural 3D Design - My Personal Perspective

January 16, 2013 by: Ben Heimsath

A half century ago I was an expert at drawing 3D images with a T-square and triangle. Architects drew on large sheets of vellum or mylar with sharp pencil leads and precise technical pens. The process of laying out a 3-D drawing started by locating the horizon line. We worked from a 2D plan and would then project from the elevations by manually taking each line to the proper vanishing point. We ... Read More

Design Process / Master Plan / Presentatons / Promotion

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