Design & Construction

Affordable Church Renovation: Closing The Gap with New Life

Abandoned and vacant for ten years, an old automotive dealership gets new life to bring generations together.

Alison Istnick  ·  December 29, 2017

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Displayed in the renovation are design elements which reflect a transitional model. Located over the entryway is a prominent and unique steeple. “There are a lot of steeple manufacturers out there that make prefab steeples. You can get very modern to very traditional styles. We found one that we felt perfectly met the aesthetics of the building’s transitional design concept.

We added parapet walls to conceal the low gabled roof of the former showroom and clad these walls in brick and limestone. We carried these materials into the new church entrance and around the front of the building which allowed us to tie it all together,” tells Cox. Since the existing asymmetrical layout of the building dictated a design that was more contemporary than traditional layouts, Studio Four Design chose exterior materials and detailing to create the desired transitional aesthetic.

Katie Moran, project manager with Studio Four Design says, “The exterior of the building was updated to reflect the church’s brand and identity. We did this by using traditional materials such as limestone and brick applied in ways to reflect a more transitional design. “The existing orange brick and grey metal panels were painted to match the new brick and stone. These choices of material and color are very warm and inviting, but also hide the fact that this building once was an auto dealership.”

Furthermore, new exterior wall construction was designed to be more energy efficient to help create a functional and insulated interior environment. A new roof was installed to complete the transformation. Repairing and reusing existing metal panels also served to reduced overall project costs. An all new 400sf main entry was constructed to provide a key circulation connection and focal point for the building. “When you walk in it has a sort of warmth of being at home.

There’s a lot of light in there. It’s not an imposing space and the scale is very comfortable so people feel welcomed and not overwhelmed, notes Moran. “Two circulation spines were established to divide the key spaces and simplify wayfinding in the building,” she explains.

What was once the existing showroom portion of the building is now three new adult classrooms. Existing offices and restrooms were transformed into a nursery and four children’s classrooms all within close proximity to the worship center.

The former auto repair bay portion of the building, a very large area with high ceilings was divided into three spaces for use as lobby, worship and fellowship. The first part connected to the new entry and provided an extension for the new lobby and an entrance to the worship center. Cox shares, “The auditorium doesn’t have any windows.

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