I heard about Sprung structures when several of our church clients considered this type of building for cost savings. At the time, there wasn’t enough savings to justify the unconventional configuration. I had heard, however, that at least one church had used this building system successfully in our area. Today, I found that church!
The Sprung company is a global leader in fabric structures. Their system is designed around lightweight aluminum structural members with a stretched layer of fabric and insulation in between. These buildings have very distinctive profiles, and many are used for utility structures, such as warehouses or materials storage.
The church has been in this structure for over a decade. While the outside is nothing remarkable, the interior spaces are remarkable. The assembly space is wide and open. A translucent ridge panel bathes the interior with light from above. The service core contains a kitchen, and bathrooms and has a sound room above. An open common space on the other side of the service core makes for a welcoming office suite.
The unconventional form certainly suits the church’s mission. Austin’s Metropolitan Community Church is a member of the MCC denomination that began in ministering to LGBT people in the 1960’s. The MCC website describes their mission:
“Our communion table is open to everyone. There are no requirements or limitations. God welcomes all with open arms, and so do we! We are a Christian denomination who worship together in love, respecting the spiritual paths of each of our companions on the journey.”
The Austin MCC motto, “A Church Without Walls,” takes on several meanings, since these really aren’t conventional church walls.
MCC Austin, 8601 South 1st Street, Austin, Texas 78748