Sacred Place is Home For The Arts

August 31, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

In the early 1970s our firm had just completed an innovative branch library in a developing area of Northwest Houston. It was an instant community success and shortly thereafter the pastor of a local church, Glen Wilkerson met with me to share his vision for a new kind of church ministry. He wanted to create a sacred place that would also be a home for the arts. Cypress Creek Christian Church ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Artists / Design Process / 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 ideas ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Building Committee / Master Plan

Master Planning for Congregations - 10 Essentials

July 10, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

With this post, we begin a three-part series on what it takes to produce a great Master Plan. If you'd like to have a copy of all 10 Essentials, you may download them now. The Master Plan is a crucial first step when a church or religious community prepares for a building program. The success of the Master Plan can determine the success of all the later steps of design, fundraising and ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Adaptive Re-use / Campus Architecture / Building Committee / Master Plan / Presentatons / Site Development

Church Design - Then and Now

June 20, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

Christ Episcopal Church in Temple, Texas was built in 1915. There are so many things that have changed in our society in the past 100 to 150 years, it's surprising that in many ways, today's church is a lot like the place of worship in the 20th, or even the 19th Century. In some important ways, however, church design in the 21st Century can be radically different. While there has been a lot of ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Adaptive Re-use / Liturgical Arts / Historic Preservation

Church Design -- Church Lighting Control

More and more we see our church clients wanting lighting control to highlight areas of the worship space. It could be that they want to have a different set of lights to highlight the baptism, it could be that at times they want to light up of the choir area, or maybe they want to have a dim the lights and just have light shining on the pulpit. Traditionally this is done in one of two ways; ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Technology / Fellowship Hall

The Church and Development - What's Missing Here?

May 11, 2012 by: Ben Heimsath

After the 2nd World War, many cities in Europe were rebuilt as New Towns. These developments were based on many of the principals of the Garden City Movement, promoted by Ebenezer Howard. These New Towns became an important precedent for American suburbs, though most often without the encumbrances of the European regulatory environment. But we missed one thing the Europeans got right. The church ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction / Design Process / Master Plan

What Is A Church? An Outsider's Perspective

April 30, 2012 by: Heimsath Architects Staff

As one of many native Chinese who were born in mid 80s and raised in central China, I had little exposure to religion or places of religious worship. If you had asked me “what is a church” several years ago, my answer probably would be a gothic cathedral with large stained glass windows, long somber corridors and loud ringing bells or a similar architype from history. Most of my early knowledge ... Read More

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

Church Interior Design - Is Beige The Only Color?

March 27, 2012 by: Sandy Stone

For several decades, I have worked with churches and building committees as both an architect and interior designer. I have found that church interior design often presents a surprising challenge - how to work with color. Often, a large building committee will try to weigh-in on selections, but few people understand how color works or affects the built environment. To complicate matters, color ... Read More

Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Design Process / Building Committee

Liturgical Objects Get A New Life

March 21, 2012 by: Maryann Heimsath

Here's an interesting feature on the Museum of Divine Statues, a new establishment for preserving discarded liturgical objects. Among the many challenges posed by the closing of an old church or religious building is what happens to the sacred art or liturgical objects. They've been part of sacred rituals or prayers by generations of worshippers. They can't be tossed out or just sent to a yard ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Church Design & Construction / Memorial / Adaptive Re-use / Liturgical Arts / Historic Preservation

What is a Narthex?

March 15, 2012 by: Ben 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 early ... Read More

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