Design & Construction

Church Construction: Contemporary Meets Gothic Architecture

A fresh approach in design succeeds in expanding this timeless church ministry with modern elements and a more welcoming contemporary feel.

Cathy Hutchison  ·  December 29, 2017

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The first thing you notice when entering the Church of the Incarnation is the beauty of its scale.

Bright and sweeping vaulted ceilings draw attention skyward over generous corridors with ambient light which spills inside through large windows. “One of my great joys is seeing little kids run down the halls of the education building,” shares Church of the Incarnation’s Bishop, Anthony Burton, with a smile. “The scale and natural light make people feel happy and elevated.”

That scale was something that Bishop Burton wasn’t completely sure about in the initial design phases. “When looking at things on paper, you can see that the proportions are good, but you don’t know how it will feel when you walk inside of it. In construction—when the initial beams went up—I could experience the scale and knew it would feel good.”

The sanctuary and welcome center both share the unique ceiling which has exposed glue lam trusses—much like an inverted ship. The timbers are 30 plus feet long in the ceiling, and the visual they create draws your eye to create an inspired experience.


The original campus contained buildings from different eras. The original chapel from 1927, a sanctuary constructed in 1954, and a multipurpose building from 1966. The Gothic style of architecture makes Church of the Incarnation a readily recognizable fixture from its position on Interstate 75 in Dallas. And while the real estate is perfect for easy access, the plot along the highway is long and narrow making it a challenge for campus layout.

“The existing campus spanned two city blocks,” explains Bruce Woody, president of HH Architects, located in Richardson, Texas. “The site is very linear—a good size, but long shape.” Initially, the church had hoped to purchase land that would square off the campus, but the owners of the property were not ready to sell. “Sometimes challenges inspire superior solutions than what you would come up with otherwise. The narrow site prompted us to close off a street and design a Gothic-style linear progression that makes everything look like it was designed at the same time.”

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Design & Construction · Design · Kids & Youth · Landscaping/Grounds · Case Study · Chapel · Construction Management - Expansion · Gothic · Youth Worship Center · All Topics

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