Talking With … Stacy Holland, Director of Business Development and Marketing, HCO Inc. Architects,
As published in Worship Facilities, Mar/Apr 2012
Time and again church leaders hear expert designers, builders and other professionals say that the best church building projects are accomplished through a collaborative team effort. But how does a church leader know which of the millions of church architects, builders and others out there are also big into “collaborating” with them?
WFM sought out self-described “collaborative” HCO Inc. Architects to find out exactly what a team approach means to them—and most of all, how the company approaches the art of collaboration with its roster of church clients. Read on to find out the report from HCO’s director of business development and marketing, Stacy Holland.
WFM: Describe your HCO Inc.’s offerings, in a nutshell.
Holland: HCO Inc. is a nationally known, award-winning architectural and engineering firm that specializes in building distinctive houses of worship, including LEED-certified design, new church construction, additions, and renovations. Our team will take the client from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting. We assist with funding procurement, design, construction, interior design and furnishings.
WFM: Why is a collaborative design process so important for your firm’s church projects, specifically?
Holland: A cohesive team is paramount to the success of a project, as is a firm who specializes in a particular area of expertise. For example, … you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) hire an architect who specializes in residential or school design to design your church.
HCO Inc. understands the unique needs of churches. [We offer] collaborative efforts, innovative technology, forecasting abilities, and years of experience in the industry.
WFM: How should church staff be prepared to work collaboratively alongside architects like HCO—and how do they get up to the task?
Holland: A successful collaborative effort is enhanced tremendously when the church forms a building committee. The committee should develop an overall picture of what the church desires (project scope). They should also identify a key person, preferably not the pastor or anyone who has a lot of tasks or responsibilities, who acts as the spokesperson for the owner. This individual should plan on devoting a significant amount of time to the project. Some of their responsibilities include disseminating information and providing communication between the various groups. Having a background in construction is also a plus.
WFM: What can architects like HCO, with church experience, bring to the table that those with general commercial or institutional design and building experience can’t?
Holland: Though each church is unique, there are similarities that exist. Firms that are well versed in church design and construction will recognize, understand and address these points. Designing a church is always financially challenging. As a church architect, HCO Inc. always incorporates value-engineering exercises in the projects we undertake. We look for the most durable and least expensive materials to use whenever we can to keep costs to a minimum. Multi-functional space utilization goes a long way in saving construction costs. An inviting and inspiring design is a big plus in the design of any progressive worship facility. Additionally, change orders on HCO Inc. projects are kept to a minimum—mostly below 1%. HCO Inc. executes, in close association with our clients, functional and aesthetic structures that are capable of meeting the needs of a growing community for years to come.