Children’s spaces are special in that they are highly creative. Those designs are most effective when they are tailored to the unique needs and mission of the church.
Cathy Hutchison · April 4, 2016
CALLING FOR ADVENTURE
With the construction of their new worship center, Abundant Life in Lees Summit, Missouri had the opportunity to relocate their children’s ministries closer to their new worship venue to improve accessibility. The church teamed with Mantel Teter Architects of Kansas City, Missouri and Wacky World Studios of Oldsmar, Florida to create an indoor extravaganza to support the children’s ministry’s navigational theme.
“It was really exciting to witness the church’s focus on children,” says Skyler Phelps, vice president at Mantel Teter Architects. “Many churches will theme an entry, but Abundant Life invested all of the way through. There are big trees in the foyer, a van with a camper, ranger station, rafts on the floor…” Phelps explains, “One of Wacky World’s strategies to animate the space was through video projection. There is a digital waterfall that projects water falling onto the floor, and projected leaves that separate when children step on it.”
Journey Kids—the name of the children’s ministry—is structured to invite kids into the adventure of life in Christ. The new space allows the church to make that message a three dimensional story. “There is nothing like it in our area,” reveals Phelps. “It doesn’t come off as a theme park. It’s simply an immersive environment that calls kids to join in.”
WHEN THE KIDS GET THEIR OWN BUILDING
At Crossroads Christian Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, one of the biggest design decisions for the facility was to make it a stand-alone venue. “The church told us that they wanted something unique and creative, and because the building wasn’t tied to what already existed, that gave us an open canvas,” comments Bruce Woody, president of HH Architects in Dallas, Texas.
The new building—visible from the nearby freeway—has a distinctively animated architecture in its shape, form and color.
Gary Kirchoff, the project manager shares, “The fact that it’s a stand-alone building with such a unique personality really gave the church an opportunity to rebrand their children’s ministry. The design literally took off on the backside of a napkin. Once the idea of a themed children’s village came together it just came to life.”
Nan Gannon, interior designer with HH Architects, adds, “The church didn’t want something cartoonish. They wanted a world that kids could enter.”
The theme—which carries through the building—is centered around a Main Street that features realistic row houses built to 2/3 scale so they are sized for children.