An established church located on a densely wooded site, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Westlake Hills hired Heimsath Architects to develop a master plan for its campus. The church has expanded in increments since the initial chapel was built in 1979. The result however, has been a somewhat disjointed organization of activities between two separate buildings. The church has grown with a range of activities on site, including multiple worship services and an active pre-school.
The master plan envisions selective additions and renovations to the existing structures and landscape. The concept is focused on reusing and updating what is great about the existing facilities and property, while adding strategically to provide needed expansion and improved access and circulation.
A major addition to the original chapel structure will provide a new location for the pre-school as well as meeting space for the church and community activities. A new entry from the rear parking area will transform the image of the main building and current sanctuary. Other improvements include a new outdoor seating deck adjacent to the existing gym and reorienting the offices toward the narthex to improve both hospitality and security.
Space outdoors is a high priority. The master plan makes landscape elements integral to the overall campus design. The courtyard takes center stage as a major design element by tying existing buildings to new and providing usable space for various activities. The master plan calls for removing the east driveway to open up and reconnect the courtyard landscape with the dramatic terrain where the existing memorial garden and outdoor worship are located. The concept of the lychgate (a traditional English churchyard entry) has been incorporated throughout the plan in various forms using the high-pitched shape of the original sanctuary roof as a reference.
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