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
“We wanted everything to blend with the existing building, but to still speak to children,” adds Jeremy Roehr, project leader for GFF. “We designed a large glazed entry to the new children’s commons with colored glass and a ‘pop up’ play space. This expresses visually the type of ministry that happens here and it also allows the church to really let it be the kids space.”
LEVERAGING SIMPLICITY FOR MULTIUSE
The new children’s spaces at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kansas are deceptively simple: open ceilings and exposed structure with some color blocking to add visual interest. Yet, the strategy behind the design is a story in reallocating space to maximize flexibility.
“This church is active every day of the week,” offers Brian Rathsam, project architect for Mantel Teter in Kansas City, Missouri. “We designed the rooms to be inherently multipurpose. The church has created some art for minor theming, but it can be easily updated. The 200-seat auditoriums are essentially identical.”
While the primary function of the dual auditoriums is to serve middle school and high school worship, the rooms are labeled the East and West Auditoriums—which allows them to be used for other ministries and events during the week.
With the new worship spaces, the existing high school space was able to be reallocated for the children’s ministry. “The previous high school worship space had two story volume. So we put in another floor, doubling the square footage and creating additional classrooms for children’s ministry. We were also able to extend and enlarge the church’s lobby space in a way that makes it feel like it has always been there. What was previously congested now has fluid circulation and a nice, open café space,” comments Rathsam.
DESIGNING TO YOUR UNIQUE MISSION
For each of these new projects, the designers started with each church’s unique ministry.
Whether it was about calling children to adventure, planning a dedicated building that children want to run into, creating exactly what was needed to do big ministry in a small city, or designing multiuse flexibility for a continually innovating ministry, every decision was made to support a clearly defined purpose.
So, what is the purpose unique to your ministry? Are your facilities aligned to support it?