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

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

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 the ... 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 all. ... Read More

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

Building Restoration After Catastrophe

May 22, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

The Atlantic Cities website ran photos and news this week about the earthquake in Italy. This strikes a chord with us in Central Texas. No, we don't have priceless renaissance buildings here, but we continue to grapple with major events that challenge us to re-examine our building processes and consider key issues of building restoration. These sobering photos remind us to consider all aspects of ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Austin / Architects and Construction / Historic Preservation

Residential Solar Panels -- A First Report

Solar Panels on the Front roof Area There is a 5.76 KW solar array on the Purple Heron House. Given that the house is a 5-star rated (or will be when Autsin Green Building finishes its process), we looked into Solar as a way to make the house even more effiecient (with the current efficiencies of the solar panels, it is usually better to conserve first and then look to generation). At the time ... Read More

Residential Design & Construction / Technology / Architects and Construction / Sustainable Design

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 structure. ... Read More

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

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

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