View from the Pew…err…Couch! Attending Church Virtually

April 11, 2020 by: Ben Heimsath

Each morning, for the past four Sundays, I have made preparations for attending church. I toss on jeans and a t-shirt, slip on house shoes, grab a cup of coffee, and settle down comfortably in front of my computer. As the top of the hour approaches, I pull up Facebook or one of several streaming platforms and join an on-line worship service. In normal times, our firm’s specialty in church ... Read More

Worship Space / Religious / Church Change / Austin Churches

Church Reuse is a Magic Carpet Ride

April 21, 2014 by: Ben Heimsath

If you don't already know of one, there's a good chance you'll be seeing an abandoned church sometime soon. Last year, I noted that experts in historic preservation convened a conference in New York to begin examining this growing phenomenon. Many older cities, experiencing population declines, have become painfully aware of the loss of their major landmarks. As congregations either move away or ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Adaptive Re-use / Historic Preservation

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

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

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 - 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

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