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: Clovis 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. ... Read More

Design Process / Master Plan / Presentatons / Promotion

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

Sacred Place is Home For The Arts

August 31, 2012 by: Clovis 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

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

The Church and Development - What's Missing Here?

May 11, 2012 by: Clovis 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 ... Read More

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

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

What is a Narthex?

March 15, 2012 by: Clovis 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 ... Read More

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

Austin to LA - Mid Century Modern Sources at the LACMA

December 29, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

  The exhibit bills itself as "the first major study of California midcentury modern design." Currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are over 300 objects of remarkable diversity.  It includes lamps, textiles, graphic design, fashion, costumes, jewelry, architectural photography, a car, an airstream camper and even the original Barbie Doll.  In Austin, we're particularly ... Read More

Modern Architecture / Design Process

Historic Inn Renovation - 15 Tips, Part Two

December 6, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

Here is the next installement of Clovis Heimsath's advice derived from a premier historic inn renovation program.  He and Maryann Heimsath are inn keepers of the Country Place Hotel in Fayetteville, Texas. Tip #4:  Have a professional conditions assessment.  An expert can objectively evaluate everything from architectural merit to structural integrity. As an architect, I could immediately affirm ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / Design Process / Historic Preservation